UEFA is insisting that the Champions League final will take place in Istanbul as scheduled, despite the country heading into a politically charged election period starting this weekend.
There had been speculation that the governing body had been looking at contingency plans if the election result sparked tensions in Turkey, with reports they had spoken to the Portuguese Football Federation about moving the final to Lisbon at short notice.
But UEFA has denied that, claiming the final will definitely take place at Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium, with the match moved out of Turkey’s largest city in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.
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“The 2023 UEFA Champions League Final will take place in Istanbul as scheduled, on June 10, 2023,” said a statement from UEFA.
“UEFA does not enter into discussions to the contrary with political institutions, governments or national football associations.”
Turkey’s presidential election begins on Sunday with a first round of voting and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may see an end to his two-decade reign.
Challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu is currently ahead of Erdogan. The vote could lead to a second round to be held at the end of May that could fuel tensions in the country, but UEFA has no plans to move the game away from Istanbul.
Manchester City are favorites to reach their second Champions League final in three years ahead of their semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Etihad on Wednesday. The Bernabeu drew 1-1 on Tuesday.
In the other semi-final, Inter have a 2-0 lead after beating AC Milan in the away leg of their semi-final.
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