Champions League final

The Mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, has revealed that the Spanish capital is holding discussions about hosting the final of this year’s UEFA Champions League if the match ends up being relocated from Istanbul.

The Turkish city is currently scheduled to host the match but it has been reported that UEFA is planning to move the game due to COVID-19. The match had initially been due to take place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium on May 30.

Last week it was reported that UEFA was considering staging the remaining matches of the competition in Germany or Portugal as part of a new-look hosting model, and Madrid has emerged as a possibility to stage the showpiece final.

“I know arrangements are being made, and I want to declare the city hall’s absolute support for this Champions League final being held in Madrid,” Spanish newspaper Marca quoted Almeida as telling 13tv.

More than 27,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Spain and Madrid has been particularly hard hit, although the infection rate has fallen significantly.

Almeida added: “We have the adequate safety conditions, we have the infrastructure and public services to hold it and it would send a message to the world that despite all the drama we have lived, Madrid isn’t giving up and is on the rise again.”

It has previously been reported in the Spanish press that Atlético Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium could host the final. The venue hosted last year’s final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

EFL

The English Football League (EFL) has announced this afternoon that clubs in League One and League Two have voted to curtail their 2019-20 seasons.

The news means that Coventry City and Rotherham United will be automatically promoted from League One to the Championship, with Tranmere Rovers, Southend United and Bolton Wanderers having been relegated to League Two. Wycombe Wanderers, Oxford United, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town will contest the League One play-offs.

In League Two, Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle have been promoted to League One. Stevenage is currently bottom of League Two and will be relegated, provided the EFL board receives necessary assurances that the National League will start its 2020-21 season.

Cheltenham Town, Exeter City, Colchester United and Northampton Town will contest the League Two play-offs.

The League One and League Two play-off finals are still scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium, albeit without fans. The League Two final will take place on Monday, June 29 at 7.30pm. A date for the League One final has not yet been announced.

The second-tier Championship is set to play out the rest of its season, with matches to resume behind closed doors on June 20.

Women’s World Cup

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has withdrawn its candidacy to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, with COVID-19 cited as one of the reasons for the bid being pulled.

The decision has been taken after FIFA’s analysis of Brazil’s bid concluded that the necessary guarantees to support the proposal could not be made. The CBF will now support South American neighbour Colombia’s bid to host the event. Colombia will face competition from Japan and a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand.

In a letter to FIFA, the Brazilian government said that, while it would be able to host the event from a structural perspective, it would be inadvisable to stage the tournament at this time due to the “economic and fiscal austerity” fueled by COVID-19.

The CBF said in a statement that it “understands the position of caution from the Brazilian government, and of other public and private partners, which stopped them from formalising the commitments within time or in the required form”.

FIFA is expected to announce the host of the 2023 Women’s World Cup on June 25. The event, which was most recently held last year in France, has never been staged in South America.

Brazil has hosted a number of major events in recent years, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2019 Copa America.

AFL

The state government in South Australia has given the green light for 2,000 fans to attend the AFL match between Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide this weekend.

The match will be played at the Adelaide Oval and will serve as a home fixture for Port Adelaide. The club’s chief executive Keith Thomas said 1475 tickets would go to Power club members, with 475 tickets to be given to Crows fans and the remaining 50 to be given to Adelaide Oval members.

A ballot system will be used to allocate the tickets to Port Adelaide members. A further 240 people will be able to attend the match in private rooms.

Sport resumed in Australia last month but so far fans have not been allowed back at stadia.

Thomas said: “The SA government and SA Health have been magnificent in how they have managed the entire COVID-19 pandemic here in South Australia, including our transition out of shutdown.

“We have always maintained we’ll be guided by the government and relevant health authorities on these matters, so we are fully supportive of today’s decision. As a club, we are delighted that 1475 of our loyal members will be able to attend this game, along with some of our corporate clients who have stood by the club throughout these uncertain times.”

FC Midtjylland

In Denmark, Superliga football club FC Midtjylland has detailed plans to welcome up to 5,000 fans to matches at MCH Arena.

Yesterday (Monday), Denmark’s Justice Ministry announced that discussions will take place on allowing more than 500 spectators to attend Superliga matches in a “health-responsible” manner.

FC Midtjylland has welcomed the announcement, with Superliga matches currently being played without fans due to restrictions on gatherings.

Preben Rokkjær, FC Midtjylland’s supporter and marketing director, said that a maximum attendance of 500 would be “very low” and has revealed that the club is looking at possibilities to open numerous entrances at the 11,000-seat MCH Arena.

Rokkjær added: “We have prepared a plan for how we can divide the MCH Arena into several sections so that we can welcome up to 5,000 football fans. No sections will contain more than 500 spectators, and there will be separate parking spaces, entrances, stalls and toilets for each section.

“In addition, we will of course have full focus on cleaning, hand washing and the recommended distance, and then we must remember that football, unlike most cultural offerings, takes place under the open sky.”

Fellow Superliga club FC Copenhagen has devised a plan that would allow up to 10,500 fans to attend matches at its Telia Parken stadium. The plan would divide Telia Parken into 21 ‘halls’, which would each seat 500 fans. Telia Parken has a total capacity of 38,000.

Image: fernandopascullo