Aston Villa to face questions over offer to host Champions League final

The all-Premier League encounter between Manchester City and Chelsea is scheduled to take place in Istanbul.

By Press Association Published: 7 May 2021 - 3.30am

Aston Villa are set to be questioned on reports they have offered to host the Champions League final amid ongoing doubts about the suitability of the match being played in Turkey.

The all-Premier League encounter between Manchester City and Chelsea is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 29 at Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.

But, with Turkey currently under lockdown following an alarming surge in coronavirus cases, MPs and health experts are among those calling for the showpiece event to be switched to England to prevent seemingly unnecessary travel and limit the risk of further transmission.

While UEFA has insisted the venue will not change, reports emerged on Thursday that Villa Park would be made available as an alternative.

Villa have yet to respond to those suggestions but manager Dean Smith is likely to be asked about the subject when he faces the media on Friday morning to preview his side’s weekend game against Manchester United.

On Thursday afternoon, the West Midlands club fuelled rumours by tweeting aerial footage of their stadium, accompanied by a heart emoji.

The PA news agency has approached Villa for comment.

UEFA is on Friday due to announce further details on ticketing, travel and capacity for the final.

Istanbul was due to host the 2020 Champions League final before it was played behind closed doors in Lisbon because of the impact of the global pandemic.

PA understands that at this stage only a request from the Turkish government would prompt the match to be moved elsewhere for a second successive year.

Staging the game in England would pose a number of logistical issues, including visitors – such as delegates from national associations – being required to to self-isolate for up to 10 days upon arrival.

UEFA would also have to inspect and approve the replacement stadium.

Wembley is almost certainly out of the running as it is set to host the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on May 29.

If current plans remain, and Turkey is not added to the British Government’s ‘green list’ of countries when England’s international travel ban is lifted on May 17, UK residents attending the final would be required to self-isolate for up to 10 days on their return.

Chelsea booked their spot in the biggest match in club football on Wednesday by overcoming Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate, while City defeated Paris St Germain the previous evening, winning 4-1 over two legs.

Talk of two all-English European finals was extinguished on Thursday evening after Arsenal were unable to emulate Manchester United in progressing from the Europa League semi-finals.

Spanish side Villarreal defeated the Gunners 2-1 on aggregate and will play United – who beat Roma 8-5 over two games – for the trophy in Gdansk, Poland, on Wednesday, May 26.

Up to 9,500 supporters could attend that match at the Stadion Miejski, with the finalists each receiving 2,000 tickets and a further 2,000 tickets available to the general public.

Remaining tickets will be allocated to the local organising committee, UEFA and national associations, commercial partners and broadcasters.

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