European football governing body, UEFA, are making plans to move the Champions League final from Istanbul to Lisbon due to Turkey presidential elections.
The plan follows fears over possible breakout of violence and protests after the presidential elections with the safety of football fans being the primary concern.
According to reports, Turkish elections will likely enter into run-offs as the race between the sitting President, Tayip Erdogan, and his main challenger, Kemal Killicdaroglu, gets tougher.
Results of the poll so far shows the race is getting tighter. Killicdaroglu is reportedly leading Tayip Erdogan by a narrow five percent and there are projections the polls will end in run-offs which will take place on May 28.
The Champions League final will take place on June 10, 13 days after the projected run-off election. There are concerns a mass civil unrest and protests could breakout after the run-offs and the Champions League final could be affected hence the plan to move it from the Ataturk Stadium and entirely out of Turkey.
Daily Mail reports UEFA are already in talks with Portuguese authorities to bring the Champions League final to Lisbon if the gloomy prospects after the Turkish elections lingers.
Should UEFA move the final from Ataturk Stadium in Turkey, it will be the third time the football governing body have moved the game from Turkey.
In 2020, the competition was moved from Turkey due to COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, it was moved again still because of COVID-19.
Portugal have usually offer UEFA a quick and easy escape route to stage the competition when Turkey could not host it. Lisbon hosted the 2020 final while Porto hosted the 2021 final.
As things stand, there are projections Portugal may once again host the tournament as Turkey battles with a tensed presidential election.
However, Turkey’s chance of still going ahead to host the Champions League final is not ruled out. According to reports, if the election doesn’t enter into run-offs it will be safer to host the competition as tensions must have died down before then but if it goes into run-offs, it is more likely the Ataturk Stadium will not host the final as planned.
Meanwhile, sources close to UEFA have debunked claims there are plans to move the game from Turkey.
Manchester City, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and AC Milan are the four teams battling for a place in the final.
Manchester City drew Real Madrid 1-1 at Santiago Bernabeu and will be heading into the second leg at Etihad with equal advantage.
Inter Milan saw off city rivals, AC Milan, 2-0 in first leg and are a step closer to making their first Champions League final in 13 years.
The second leg comes up on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.