MANCHESTER, England: Manchester City and Chelsea fans hoping to travel to Istanbul to see their teams in the Champions League final on May 29 were dealt a blow on Friday when the UK government placed Turkey on their travel 'red list'.
British transport minister Grant Shapps said that travel to red list countries was not allowed except for in "the most extreme circumstances" and anyone returning from a red list country has to enter and pay for compulsory hotel quarantine.
"It does mean that fans should not travel to Turkey," said Shapps, who raised the possibility of the match being moved to England.
"The FA (Football Association) are in discussions with UEFA. We are open to hosting but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA," he added.
Turkey has in recent weeks ranked fourth globally in terms of daily COVID-19 cases, prompting a nationwide lockdown this month until May 17. The move has started to curb the outbreak, with daily cases falling to below 27,000 on Wednesday from a peak above 63,000 in mid-April.
Media reports have said that Turkish football authorities had been hoping to allow 4,000 fans of each team as part of a 25,000 capacity crowd at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
Some media commentators in England have called for the all-English final to be moved to the UK.
Champions League organisers UEFA and the FA did not immediately comment on the announcement.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)