Italy Asks UEFA to Move Champions League Final From Istanbul Over Syrian War

Showing disdain for UEFA’s warnings, Turkish football players gave military salutes during their games against Albania and France.

Vincenzo Spadafora, the Italian Minister for Sports, sent a letter to UEFA President Alexander Ceferin on Monday, asking whether or not the finals of football’s Champions League for 2020 should be held in Istanbul as scheduled.

Spadafora wondered in his letter to the Union of European Football Associations if it is inappropriate to hold the Champions League final in Istanbul on May 30, 2020, in the light of the extraordinarily serious military actions Turkey is currently taking against the Kurdish  population in Syria.

This year’s final for Europe’s most prestigious football championship is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, as every year a different European city hosts the important sporting event.

Spadafora said that Turkey’s recent intervention in northern Syria is strongly condemned by the European Union, and asked whether UEFA is ready to consider serious disciplinary measures against Turkey by taking away the final from the city of Istanbul.

In response to the Italian request, UEFA Vice-President Michele Uva said that revoking the final from a city is without doubt an extremely serious action, and for this reason, UEFA is not ready to discuss such an option at the present time.

However, UEFA noted that every such possible action must first be discussed within the Executive of the Association.

A recent military salute by Turkish football players in the game against Albania in the qualifying round of the Euro 2020 tournament caused widespread negative reactions against Turkey throughout Europe.

UEFA has condemned the Turkish players’ actions, noting that politics must stay out of sports.

However, during Monday evening’s game between France and Turkey, Turkish players repeated their military salute once again, despite UEFA’s specific warnings to refrain from political or military gestures during European football matches.

It now remains to be seen whether the European Association will now toughen its stance against Turkey by imposing sanctions against the country’s national football team.