Aston Villa offer to host all-English Champions League final in bid to move match from Turkey

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Chelsea fans celebrate their team's victory over Real Madrid - PA
Chelsea fans celebrate their team's victory over Real Madrid - PA

Aston Villa were on Thursday night willing to stage the Champions League final amid mounting fury over plans to force thousands of Manchester City and Chelsea fans to travel to coronavirus-ravaged Turkey for the game.

The Daily Telegraph has been told Villa Park would be made available upon request by Uefa – Wembley is scheduled to stage the Championship play-off final the same day – amid calls for the biggest match in club football to be moved to England.

News of Villa’s willingness to step in emerged as a growing number of MPs and public health experts condemned plans to stage the all-English final in a country with a Covid-19 infection rate 12 times that of the UK.

Uefa was on Thursday night ploughing ahead with holding the match in Istanbul, which plans to welcome up to 12,000 City and Chelsea fans in a third-full Ataturk Stadium on May 29.

Sources said that even if Turkey’s Covid crisis forced a switch, the game would only be moved to England if the UK relaxed rules that mean almost everyone entering the country has to self-isolate for up to 10 days.

Those rules could stop Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin and a host of other dignitaries attending the game.

That is not expected to change under plans to ease border restrictions on May 17, meaning City and Chelsea supporters travelling to Istanbul also having to quarantine upon their return to the UK.

Fan leaders from those clubs have already called for those rules to be relaxed for supporters attending the final and they were joined by their counterparts from the Europa League final, Manchester United.

They told the Telegraph they want those travelling to the games to be given the option of doing so in a Covid-secure bubble using specially-chartered flights and coaches that would see them avoid having to quarantine.

Oli Winton of the Manchester United Supporters Trust said: “Not seeing your own team play in a European final is alien to many of us but quarantine could simply make it unworkable.”

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