Scottish Daily Mail

Chaos as Turkey goes on red list

- By MATT HUGHES

PLANS for the all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea in Istanbul later this month were thrown into chaos last night by the government’s decision to put Turkey on their travel red list. The developmen­t, which left officials at UEFA and the FA stunned, has major ramificati­ons for the final and the European Championsh­ip. Under current regulation­s, players of both clubs would have to quarantine for ten days on their return from Istanbul — effectivel­y ruling seven of Gareth Southgate’s players out of the tournament, which starts on June 11. The FA are understood to be lobbying the government to grant exemptions to Chelsea and City, enabling the clubs’ personnel to travel to Turkey without quarantini­ng on their return. If that is refused, UEFA would have little option but to seek an alternativ­e venue. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government are open to hosting the final in the UK, but UEFA are very reluctant to take the biggest club game of the season away from Istanbul for a second successive year. The government’s travel list will apply from May 17 and won’t be reviewed until three weeks later, making it too late for any change to affect the May 29 final. Turkey’s red-list status also means that fans will not be permitted to travel, a major blow as 12,000 of 25,000 Ataturk Stadium tickets had been set aside for them. ‘It does mean that fans should not travel to Turkey,’ said Shapps. ‘The FA are in discussion­s with UEFA. We are open to hosting but it is a decision for UEFA. We are well placed to do (host) it, given it is two English clubs in the final.’ UEFA will wait for a definitive ruling from the government on whether the competing clubs will receive exemptions before giving serious considerat­ion to moving the final. Wembley is unavailabl­e as it will be getting prepared for eight European Championsh­ip matches, while Villa Park does not meet UEFA standards. One alternativ­e option is to move the final to a country not subject to UK travel restrictio­ns, such as last year’s host, Portugal. Also in jeopardy is the proposed Turkish Grand Prix on June 13. A Formula One spokesman said: ‘We are assessing the situation and will provide more details in the coming days.’

English Premier League’s Big Six were last night handed multi-million pound fines for their roles in the Super League. They have agreed to make ‘goodwill payments’ to grassroots projects and will forfeit five per cent of earnings from their next UEFA campaign.

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