Champions League final: UEFA to move the venue from Istanbul to Porto

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The European football governing body, UEFA, is set to move the venue of this season’s UEFA Champions League final from Istanbul in Turkey to Porto in Portugal.

Initially, UEFA wanted to move the venue of the final from the Turkish city to Wembley Stadium but the football governing body could not reach an agreement with the government of the United Kingdom.

According to reports, the English FA was ready to allow UEFA to hold the final at the Villa Park stadium but the European football governing body wanted the Wembley Stadium.

Recall that UEFA decided to change the venue of the Champions League final away from Turkey because the United Kingdom placed Turkey on the red list due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

That means that when a traveler from Turkey returns to the UK such a traveler will have to quarantine for 10 days at a hotel approved by the UK government.

On the other hand, Portugal is on the government green list which means that travelers from Portugal to the UK don’t have to quarantine for 10 days.

Contrary to earlier reports that the UK government was not ready to release the Wembley Stadium to UEFA due to domestic fixtures that have been lined up to be played at the stadium, it was later reported that the government was ready to release the Wembley Stadium to UEFA. However, the UK government did not grant UEFA permission to exclude officials, 2,000 staff, foreign media, sponsors, and some VIPs from coronavirus protocols in the country.

Champions League final: UEFA to move the venue from Istanbul to Porto
Porto’s Estadio do Dragao in Portugal.

Hence, UEFA had to move the venue to Porto’s Estadio do Dragao in Portugal since the Portuguese government was ready to allow UEFA to have their way to an extent.

A report by Sky Sports said Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London where the Wembley Stadium is located said it was the loss of UEFA if they fail to host the Champions League final at the Wembley Stadium.

As for UEFA’s choice to host the Champions League in Portugal, the football governing body is reportedly pushing the Portuguese government to allow 20,000 spectators into the stadium during the final.

That is seen as a tall order because the Estadio do Dragao has 50,000 sitting capacity and the Portuguese government might not allow spectators to fill more than 10 percent of the sitting capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time of publishing this report, UEFA was yet to officially announce the new venue for the UEFA Champions League final. The final is between two Premier League clubs – Chelsea and Manchester City. It is scheduled to kick off on May 29, 2021.