Turkey aims to host Champions League final

Turkey says it hopes to host the Champions League final in August

Turkey plans to host the Champions League final in late August and will resume its domestic leagues without fans on June 12 after a three-month suspension caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium was scheduled to host the showpiece final this year but European soccer's governing body UEFA suspended the competition on March 23.

On Wednesday, however, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman Nihat Ozdemir said Europe's elite club final was being planned for the end of August, and that details on the format and timing would be finalised after talks with health officials and UEFA.

"God willing, we will complete our own leagues at the end of July. We will hand over our cups on the pitch and then we will cap the season off by hosting the UEFA Champions League final in August," Ozdemir told a news conference.

He also said Turkish soccer leagues, including the top tier Super Lig, would resume from June 12 without spectators and finish on July 26. The Super Lig schedule will involve seven weekend games and one weekday match, he said.

Ozdemir added that teams will play matches in their own cities and stadiums, despite concerns this may risk a renewed surge of coronavirus cases in some areas.

Earlier this week, Turkey's top soccer clubs resumed limited training sessions in accordance with measures set out by the TFF last week. Fenerbahce, Besiktas, and reigning champions Galatasaray all held sessions in small groups. Trabzonspor, who were league leaders when matches were suspended, also returned to the pitch this week.