Ed Elliot, PA
Aston Villa have reportedly offered to host the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea amid ongoing doubts about the suitability of the match being played in Turkey.
The all-Premier League affair is currently scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 29th at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.
Turkey is currently under lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 cases.
With City and Chelsea now the confirmed finalists, supporter groups, UK MPs and health experts are among those calling for the high-profile fixture to be switched to England.
Wembley is already committed to hosting the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on May 29th, but Villa Park in Birmingham has emerged as an alternative.
UEFA has insisted the venue will not change and is due to announce further details on ticketing, travel and capacity for the game on Friday.
The PA news agency understands at this stage only a request from the Turkish government would prompt the final to be hosted elsewhere.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 5, 2021
Switching the game to England would pose a number of logistical issues, including visitors – such as delegates from national associations – being required to self-isolate for up to 10 days upon arrival.
UEFA would also have to inspect and approve the replacement stadium.
Villa fuelled rumours earlier on Thursday by tweeting an aerial footage of their ground, accompanied by a heart emoji.
PA has approached the West Midlands club for comment.
Villa Park. 💜 pic.twitter.com/xYeZAvOIUr
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 6, 2021
Chelsea booked their spot in the final on Wednesday by overcoming Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate on Wednesday, while City defeated Paris St Germain the previous evening, winning 4-1 over two legs.
The meeting of the two Premier League rivals could be the second of two all-English European finals as Manchester United and Arsenal are in Europa League semi-final action on Thursday evening.
United travel to Roma holding a resounding 6-2 first-leg lead, while the Gunners must overturn a 2-1 deficit at home to Spanish side Villarreal.
The Europa League final will be staged in Gdansk, Poland on Wednesday, May 26th.