The 2020-21 UEFA Champions League final has been moved from Istanbul to Porto.
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After Turkey was added to the red list for travel from the United Kingdom due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, fans of both Manchester City and Chelsea would have been banned from attending the Champions League final on May 29.
With City and Chelsea set to face off in the continental showpiece, a compromise was sought and Wembley Stadium in London was put forward as a potential host city but problems arose over UEFA staff getting exemptions to travel to the UK.
UEFA have now confirmed that the Champions League final will be switched to the Estadio do Dragao in the coastal city in the northwest of Portugal, with 6,000 fans from each club able to attend.
The final attendance is yet to be announced, but Portugal is on the UK’s green list for travel so fans can fly to the game without having to quarantine upon arrival back to England.
Here is the statement from UEFA, as they confirmed that ‘after a year of fans being locked out of stadiums, UEFA thought that everything needed to be done to ensure the supporters of the two finalist teams could attend.’
“UEFA discussed moving the match to England but, despite exhaustive efforts on the part of the Football Association and the authorities, it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements.
“The Portuguese authorities and the FPF stepped in and worked quickly and seamlessly with UEFA to offer a fitting venue for the final and, as Portugal is a green list destination for England, fans and players attending the final will not have to quarantine on their return home.
“The decision does not come without big regret for the work that the Turkish football authorities have done over the last two years to ensure the successful staging of the final in Istanbul. UEFA is grateful also for their continued partnership and cooperative spirit as well as the understanding they showed in this particular circumstance and will urgently look into future opportunities for the city of Istanbul.”
UEFA went on to state how Wembley Stadium was the preferred destination but the UK government and the English FA failed to reach an agreement this week.
It also stated its thanks to the Turkish FA for allowing the switch, and will host future events in Istanbul.
All in all, this is a very good compromise as a small number of Manchester City and Chelsea fans will be able to see their team in the Champions League final, plus travel safely and avoid any complications.