Football Article

Champions League Final Venue to be Moved

Champions League Final Venue to be Moved Photo: TT
Champions League final to be moved

Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, and prevailing European travel restrictions mean that this years Champions League final will be moved from its intended venue of Istanbul, to another, yet to de decided, location.

Originally scheduled for May 30th, the final was rescheduled to August 29th because of the global health crisis, but now the decision has been made that a further change is necessary. That is because UEFA officials deem that it is neither feasible nor safe for thousands of football fans to travel across Europe to the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, even if there is a ban on supporters physically entering the ground. Instead, Istanbul are likely to be promised that they can host future UEFA events, once the current situation has improved.

Alternative venues which have been discussed include Lisbon in Portugal, and various grounds in Germany.

Despite this though, there is growing confidence that this years tournament can now be finished, especially as major leagues in Europe have resumed, or are planning to restart again.

There is though a logistical and scheduling challenge in fitting all the matches in, especially as domestic seasons will now be compressed into a short period of time to finish them in order to allow the following season to start as planned.

When the competition was halted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, only some of the quarter-finalists were known, with the outcome of several of the round of 16 fixtures still to be determined.

In addition, the concept of playing games home and away is likely to be abandoned for the present time in order to prevent unnecessary travel.

One suggestion that has been made is to stage all the remaining games in a mini-tournament at the end of the domestic seasons, in one central location, perhaps in the same place as the final is eventually held.

Matches would be one-legged affairs with everything decided on the night, using extra time and penalties if need be in order to get a result.

As with many other football decisions at the moment, one of the major motivations for ensuring the Champions League is completed is monetary. The broadcasting rights to the competition are some of the most valuable in the whole of sport, with the money raised used largely to share amongst the participating clubs as prize money.

With fears of a possible rebate having to be paid to broadcasters if the Champions League is abandoned, hearts and minds are focused on completing it, come what may.

Suneer chowdhary
Sports Pundit staff writer @suneerchowdhary
ICC-accredited cricket journalist, covers Team India through their cricketing journey around the world

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