The highly-awaited battle for European supremacy will be held in Porto with 12,000 fans in attendance, UEFA confirmed Thursday. An all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea was originally scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul but, following the UK government’s decision to place Turkey on its red list of COVID-19 travel destinations, staging the final there would have meant none of the clubs’ domestic fans would be able to travel to the game. Also Read - Cristiano Ronaldo Picks His Real Madrid Goal Against Juventus in 2018 as His Most Memorable Ever | WATCH
The May 29 showpiece was moved from Istanbul to the 50,000-capacity Est dio do Drag o due to England imposing tougher pandemic travel restrictions on Turkey that would have prevented fans flying in. Also Read - Ruben Dias Clinches Premier League Player of The Season Award; Pep Guardiola Wins in Manager Category
The initial alternative had been to use Wembley Stadium in London, but talks with the British government stalled on Monday over being able to secure quarantine waivers for the guests and broadcasters required by UEFA to attend the game. Also Read - Sergio Ramos to Manchester City? Real Madrid Captain Heavily Linked to Big Premier League Move
But Portugal is among the 12 territories that England is allowing people to return from without quarantine beginning next week. UEFA said 6,000 tickets to both Chelsea and City fans would go on sale on Thursday.
Fans have had to suffer more than twelve months without the ability to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said.
“To deprive those supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option and I am delighted that this compromise has been found.
After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.”
Last year’s final, which was also moved from Istanbul to Portugal, was played without fans in Lisbon as Bayern Munich won.
We accept that the decision of the British Government to place Turkey on the red list for travel was taken in good faith and in the best interests of protecting its citizens from the spread of the virus but it also presented us with a major challenge in staging a final featuring two English teams,” Ceferin said.