Thursday, June 17, 2021

Man City v Chelsea Champions League final moved to Porto from Istanbul

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 May 2021

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Porto will host the Champions League final on May 29, with UEFA confirming the clash between Premier League sides Manchester City and Chelsea has been moved from Istanbul.

The Turkish city had been slated to host the 2020 final, before the coronavirus pandemic led to the closing stages of the tournament being moved to Lisbon and played as one-off matches last August.

Rising COVID-19 cases in Istanbul mean UEFA has again looked to Portugal, with Estadio do Dragao now the host venue for the meeting between newly-crowned English champions City and FA Cup finalists Chelsea, who are in the European showpiece for a third time.

Turkey was placed on the UK government’s travel ‘red list’ last week, making the Ataturk Stadium an impractical venue, with fans told they should not be travelling to such destinations and players and staff would have had to isolate in a government-approved hotel upon their return.

Euro 2020 and the Copa America each starting on June 11 would have made that element particularly problematic.

UEFA on Thursday announced the change of venue and revealed both clubs will be given 6,000 tickets for the showpiece and they will be on sale immediately.

Portugal is on the UK’s ‘green list’, meaning there will be no need for fans or players to quarantine afterwards.

UEFA discussed moving the match to England but it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements.

Aleksander Ceferin, the UEFA president, said: “I think we can all agree that we hope never to experience a year like the one we have just endured.

“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.  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.

“Once again we have turned to our friends in Portugal to help both UEFA and the Champions League and I am, as always, very grateful to the FPF and the Portuguese Government for agreeing to stage the match at such short notice.

“They have worked tirelessly in very tight time constraints in finding solutions for the many challenges that hosting a game of this magnitude presents.  Whenever there has been an obstacle, they have been creative in the solutions presented and the success of staging this year’s final is entirely down to their hard work and persistence.

“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.

“The difficulties of moving the final are great and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it happen.

“The Turkish football federation and the Turkish authorities have recognised the UEFA’s efforts to give fans of the competing clubs a chance to watch the game.

“The Turkish Football Federation and the authorities have always been reliable partners of UEFA and Turkey has hosted many UEFA events over the years with great success. I hope to be in Istanbul and Turkey for a Champions League final and many other events in the near future.

“I hope the final will be a symbol of hope at the re-emergence of Europe from a difficult period and that the fans who travel to the game will once again be able to lend their voices to showcase this final as the best in club football..”

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