UEFA has made contingency plans for the Istanbul Champions League final in the event that unrest follows Turkey’s 14 May elections, reported The Independent on Monday.
The 2023 showpiece is set to take place in Istanbul on 10 June, however “sufficient concerns have been raised about the potential for political strife, raising the spectre of troops on the ground shortly before one of the planet’s premier sporting events,” the British newspaper said.
Istanbul previously missed out on hosting the Champions League finals in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the event of post-election unrest, the venue for this year’s finals could again be “switched” from Istanbul.
Turkey’s 14 May polls are expected to witness a close race between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the opposition’s presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and could mark the end of a 20+ year rule by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Political experts have raised concerns about potential unrest following the Turkish elections and have pointed to the possibility that Erdoğan could deny an election defeat.