Football

Chelsea, City fans warned against travelling to final in Istanbul

Thousands of Manchester City and Chelsea fans hoping to attend this month's Champions League final in Istanbul face a major obstacle - Britain's Foreign Office is warning against all but essential travel to Turkey based on Covid-19 risks.

Chelsea will face City in Turkey's largest city on May 29, just as the country fights its worst flare-up yet in the coronavirus pandemic.

The Guardian reported that it remains uncertain whether the British government will allow travel to the showpiece, with a list of approved destinations set to be announced today.

REMAIN IN ISTANBUL

Uefa said last week it has no plans to shift the final out of Turkey.

Sky Sports reported that Uefa hopes to secure at least 4,000 tickets for each side's supporters.

With two English teams competing, there was talk that Wembley could stage the final instead, but the stadium will be hosting the Championship play-off final on the same day.

Turkey has in recent weeks ranked fourth globally in terms of daily Covid-19 cases, prompting a nationwide lockdown until May 17.

The restrictions have started to curb the outbreak, with daily cases falling to below 27,000 on Wednesday from a peak of above 63,000 in mid-April.

Uefa said in a statement that the lockdown should not have any impact on the final.

Turkish Football Federation officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium was due to host last year's Champions League final but the pandemic forced a change of plans, with the latter rounds and final taking place in Lisbon.

The stadium hosted the 2005 Champions League final, which Liverpool won on penalties after drawing 3-3 with AC Milan. - REUTERS

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