UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin UEFA / Richard Juilliart

The 2022-23 UEFA Champions League final is in danger of being displaced once again. The match is set to be played at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul on June 10, but the possibility of social unrest in the coming weeks has prompted UEFA to start looking at alternate venues.

According to The Independent, this year's Champions League final could end up being moved to Lisbon's Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) if the governing body decides that Istanbul is unable to safely host the event in the wake of the upcoming presidential election in Turkey on May 28. There is a real possibility that the city and other parts of the country could experience substantial civil disturbances particularly over the potential end of the reign of current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The last thing that UEFA wants is to move the final for the fourth year in succession. Istanbul was originally set to host the final in 2020, and then tried again in 2021, but the novel coronavirus pandemic forced UEFA to make changes. Those finals were eventually played in Portugal at the Estadio da Luz and Estádio do Dragão, respectively.

Last year's final was set to be played in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but the invasion of Ukraine forced UEFA to switch venues once again. The 2022 final was eventually moved to the Stade de France. This year, they will avoid doing the same as much as possible, but the safety of the fans as well as the competing teams and their staff will be the top priority.

The Portuguese Football Federation has reportedly been asked to come to the rescue once more, after having already provided alternate venues in 2020 and 2021 in Lisbon and Porto. There will only be two weeks between the elections and the date of the final, and the decision may have to be made at the last minute. As of now, UEFA has not confirmed any plan to change the match venue.

Real Madrid and Manchester City have all to play for next week

Meanwhile, the two teams that will travel to Istanbul to compete for the trophy have yet to be determined. The first leg of the semi-finals were played this week, and on Tuesday, defending champions Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

City dominated the early stages of the first half before Vinicius Junior fired a scorching strike into the back of the net in the first solid attack from Los Blancos. It was their first shot on target, but the Brazilian made it count despite the fact that the City defence clearly had instructions to try to neutralise him.

The momentum shifted in favour of the hosts before Kevin De Bruyne silenced the stadium with a long-range screamer that beat Thibaut Courtois in the 67th minute to make it 1-1. Real Madrid were livid after the ball went out of bounds just moments before De Bruyne's goal, but VAR did not intervene.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland was the talk of the town heading into the match, but he was muted on the night by a solid Real Madrid defence. The tie will be decided next week on the return leg at the Etihad.

Inter Milan on course to book final ticket

The other semi-final clash is the Milan Derby. Inter Milan made their intentions known early, burying city rivals AC Milan 2-0 in the opening eleven minutes. Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored two goals within three minutes of each other, giving the Nerazzuri the early momentum.

Last year's Serie A champions AC Milan had no answers as Inter even threatened to extend their lead. The second leg will be played on Tuesday again at the San Siro, a stadium shared by the two Italian giants.

It remains to be seen which two teams will head to the final in June, and their fans will also need to wait to make sure they will be flying into the correct destination.