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Likely venue of Champions League mini-tournament revealed

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Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has been touted as the favourite to host an eight-team Champions League knockout tournament in August.

This is subjected to approval by governing body Uefa.

After the relaxation of coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Uefa had announced plans to move the final from Istanbul, where it was due to be held on 30 May, for the new format. Thre is also the likelihood that the Europa League final scheduled for in Gdansk, Poland, on 27 May, will be moved to Germany as well.

The deadly virus led to the stoppage of Europe’s continental cup competitions in March. Uefa’s executive committee is billed to decide on this on 17 June as several meetings held have debated various scenarios, including completing the tournament in two-legged ties as initially planned.

However, indications have shown that the recent discussions have centered on the type of format world governing body Fifa is aiming for with its Club World Cup concept. Uefa felt this would provide the most entertaining option for broadcasters and TV viewers.

If adopted, it means the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final being played in one location as a mini-tournament behind closed doors.

The Champions League final and the Europa League final have been rescheduled to 21 August and 23, respectively.

Other likely hosts

Although Spain, Germany, and Russia were mentioned as potential hosts for the Champions League. However, since Portugal has relaxed restrictions a little, the governing body may look at its location and the fact it has no teams left in this season’s tournament and chose it as the most likely option.

Concerning the play and accommodation, there are two stadiums in Lisbon with the facilities required to host high-profile matches, and hotels to accommodate the required number of teams. So, with the resumption of the Portuguese Primeira Liga on 3 June and most coronavirus restrictions in the country being lifted this month, Portugal is good to go.

Also, there has been the resumption of actions in Germany, as the Bundesliga restarted on 16 May. So, if Uefa considered Germany, they could make use of stadiums in Gelsenkirchen, Cologne, Duisberg, and Dusseldorf for the  Europa League games.

Remaining round of 16 games

As uncertainty surrounds the remaining last-16 games in both the Champions League and Europa League, there is also a likelihood that Uefa would want the games played in the same locations as the ‘final eight’ games to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.

Although no decision has been made, many clubs have expressed their displeasure to this idea. To them, it means they will give up home advantage in delicately-placed two-legged ties.

This won’t favour the likes of Manchester City in the Champions League, having won the Galacticos 2-1 away in the first leg while Barcelona drew 1-1 at Napoli, and Juventus are 1-0 down against Lyon.

Wolves, in the Europa League, secured a 1-1 at Olympiakos in the first leg of their last-16 tie, while Manchester United beat LASK 5-0 in Austria, and Rangers lost 3-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen. The clubs whose return leg should be at their respective home grounds won’t be happy about this development.

It would, however, be a different scenario for those that are yet to play. These could be played as one-off ties.