The UEFA confirmed that the Do Dragao stadium Oporto will replace Ataturk in Istanbul as the venue for the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on Saturday 29 May (9:00 p.m. CET).
The change of venue responds to the great travel difficulties for the fans of the two English clubs to Turkey due to the inclusion of this country in the “red list” of the United Kingdom and the offer of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) to organize the party.
UEFA explained that holding the final in Turkey would have meant that none of the national club fans could travel to the match.
“After a year in which fans have not been able to access the stadiums, UEFA thought that everything possible had to be done to ensure that the two finalist teams could attend,” added the body, which also He “argued” for the final to be played in England, but that “it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from the UK quarantine agreements”.
It was then that Portugal entered the scene, which already last year organized the ‘Final 8’ of the competition, with the final then in Lisbon, to “offer a suitable place for the final”, supported by having the approval as a destination by the British authorities.
“The decision does not come without great regret for the work that the Turkish football authorities have done over the past two years to ensure the successful organization of the final in Istanbul. UEFA is also grateful for their continued partnership. and spirit of cooperation, as well as the understanding they demonstrated in this particular circumstance, and will urgently seek future opportunities for Istanbul, “added UEFA, which is the second time it has withdrawn from the Turkish city the organization of the match for the title of the Champions.
On the other hand, he warned that the capacity to be covered in Do Dragao “will be confirmed in due course in cooperation with the Portuguese authorities and the Portuguese Federation (FPF) “, although the fans of the two finalists” will be able to buy tickets through the clubs in the usual way and the 6,000 tickets per team will go on sale as soon as possible starting this Thursday. ” The number of fans of each team that will be able to attend is the same as was planned in Istanbul, “he said.
Symbol of hope
“The fans have had to suffer for more than twelve months without being able to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football. Depriving those fans the opportunity to see the game in person was not an option. option and I am delighted that this commitment has been reached “, celebrated Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA.
The Slovenian stressed being able to tell “once again” with the help of “friends in Portugal”. “I am very grateful to the FPF and the Portuguese government for agreeing to organize the party on such short notice. They have worked tirelessly under tight time constraints to find solutions to the many challenges that hosting a party of this magnitude presents,” he said.
“We accept that the British Government’s decision to place Turkey on the travel red list was taken in good faith and in the best interest of protecting its citizens from the spread of the virus, but he also presented us with a great challenge in the staging of a final with two English teams, “added the president.
Ceferin also noted that “the Turkish Football Federation and the Turkish authorities have recognized UEFA’s efforts to provide fans of the finalists with the opportunity to watch the match” and that “they have always been reliable partners”. “I hope to be in Istanbul and Turkey for a Champions League final and many other events in the near future,” he confessed.
“I hope that the final will be a symbol of hope for the resurgence of Europe from a difficult period and that the fans traveling to the match will once again lend their voice to show this final as the best in club football“, sentenced the president of UEFA.