UEFA has responded to reports that the Champions League final could be moved for a third time from Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
The Turkish venue was originally slated to host the 2020 final, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the final stages of the tournament were moved to Portugal, with Benfica’s Estadio da Luz the site of Bayern Munich’s victory over PSG.
The Atatürk was then scheduled to host the 2021 final, but again disruptions due to the pandemic caused it to move to Portugal. Chelsea then defeated Manchester City at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto.
UEFA tried to make amends by giving the Ataturk the rights to the 2023 final – the 2022 edition was moved from St Petersburg to Paris due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – but this too was jeopardized due to political unrest in the country.
Reports across Europe this week have claimed that due to Turkey’s upcoming presidential election, UEFA has informally contacted Lisbon authorities about the possibility of re-hosting the final.
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But the governing body has been quick to play down this prospect, maintaining its support for Istanbul to finally host the showpiece event.
UEFA’s statement read: “Following some inaccurate and unfounded media reports, UEFA would like to clarify its position on the 2023 Champions League final.
“The 2023 UEFA Champions League Final will take place in Istanbul as scheduled on June 10, 2023. UEFA has no discussions with political institutions, governments or national football associations.”
The finalists for the Champions League will be announced next week. Inter lead rivals Milan 2-0 to progress to their second leg in the semi-finals, while Manchester City and Real Madrid meet again at the Etihad Stadium after a 1-1 draw in Spain.
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