Champions League Istanbul still hasn’t given up its role as hosts
There are many unknowns about European competitions in the next three months, and UEFA have been studying the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic in different countries as they look to take decisions.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has avoided taking steps too early and has delayed the final decision until next Wednesday, June 17.
The men’s Champions League will be the main topic of discussion, having been delayed until August after Euro 2020 was pushed back one year, while domestic leagues are set to be completed before then.
The initial plan was to play the remaining fixtures as usual, with the final held in Istanbul on August 29, similar to the Europa League, but they soon realised that so much travel would bring a huge risk, despite it being the favourite option for television companies.
The next idea was to leave knockout ties at one game each, reducing the number of fixtures and travel, also consolidating the calendar.
The latest idea is to have the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in one city, like the NBA and MLS have done in Orlando.
This reduces travel, players are under control and it reduces a calendar of six weeks to just 11 days.
This could be played from August 12 to August 23, with seven games played instead of 13.
Another topic is finding the ideal host, while Istanbul has not revoked its claim to host the final.
“I don’t have any doubt that this final will take place in the best way in Turkey, we’re convinced that we’ll have good news on June 17,” said Turkish sports minister Mehmet Kasapoglu on Thursday.
Ceferin has always wanted to give priority to Istanbul and Gdansk, host of the Europa League final, in theory.
Other cities, such as Lisbon and Munich, have also offered an alternative through their local football associations, a step which Madrid has not taken.
The women’s Champions League will take place in the Basque Country in Spain, in Bilbao and San Sebastian, which eliminates any chance of the men’s final taking place in Spain as well.