Reports from the United Kingdom indicate that the country’s top government officials are rsolute in their desire that the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City should be moved to another venue in the United Kingdom.
But UEFA are reportedly equally determined to reatain Istanbul as the venue of the final despite complains about Covid-19 crisis Turkey is facing.
That would mean fans of both Chelsea and Manchester City face 10 days of expensive hotel quarantine on their return from Istanbul.
And Johnson asked Uefa to consider an urgent rethink and switch the game from Covid-hit Turkey to the UK.
The PM told SunSport: “The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football.
“And with two English teams contesting the final, it would be a great shame if fans were unable to attend.
“It would be brilliant to host the game here if we can. I want to help supporters of both clubs see their team in action.”
Johnson’s public intervention strengthened the chances of the game being moved after Uefa were blindsided by the dramatic development.
Euro chiefs have been assured that the UK Government will grant an exemption from the quarantine rules for the two squads if the May 29 game remains at the Ataturk.
That would be a huge relief for England boss Gareth Southgate, who otherwise faced the prospect of having Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced to stay under lock and key until four days before the Three Lions’ opener against Croatia.
But the decision – alongside the offer from Downing Street – left Uefa actively considering a U-turn to ensure fans can get to the match.
While there are no issues entering Turkey, any Chelsea or Manchester City fans returning from Istanbul would be left facing bills of nearly £2,000 EACH before being allowed back home from the Final.
Shapps warned: “It does mean that fans should not travel to Turkey. The FA are in discussions with Uefa already on this.
“We are very open to hosting the Final but that’s ultimately a decision for Uefa.
“It’s worth mentioning we already have a successful track record of football matches with spectators and given that two English clubs are in that Final we look forward to hearing what Uefa have to say.”
Uefa was planning to allow up to 6,000 fans from each of the two clubs to travel to Istanbul for the game, which is now scheduled to have a crowd of 25,000.
But Turkey is in the grip of a new wave of the virus, forcing the clampdown on travellers coming into the UK from the country.
Meanwhile, the Chelsea Supporters Trust issued a statement on Friday evening that they are appealing to UEFA to bring the final to the UK.
The group tweeted: ‘Turkey has been added to the red list and therefore no #CFC supporters can travel to watch the #UCL final.
‘We are meeting with the @UEFA president this week & will request that the fixture is moved to the UK. #ForTheFans’