The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be moved to Porto’s Estadio do Dragao from Istanbul, UEFA is set to announce.
UEFA had wanted to move the final to Wembley and was in talks with the UK government, but there was a considerable sticking point over waiving quarantine rules for the 2,000 staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media.
The fixture was due to take place at the Ataturk Stadium on May 29, but pressure mounted for the venue to be changed after the UK government placed Turkey on its ‘red’ list of at-risk countries and urged fans not to travel for the fixture. UK citizens returning from red-list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
The capacity at the Estadio do Dragao is 50,000 and UEFA is in talks with the Portuguese government to allow 20,000 to attend the final. That would mean up to 6,000 tickets for fans of each club.
Fans have not been allowed to attend games in Portugal this season but the Portuguese league announced on Wednesday that they would be able to watch the final round of league games next Wednesday with stadium capacities capped at 10 per cent.
Portugal is on the UK government’s green list so British visitors will be able to travel there from Sunday. They will not need to quarantine but they will have to take Covid-19 tests before and after they travel.
It would have been cheaper and easier for UEFA to host the game at Wembley – which already has the infrastructure set up to be a UEFA European Championship venue next month – but the governing body felt it could not do so without the guarantee of government waivers.
As far as UEFA is concerned, fans would not be able to attend at all if the final had remained in Istanbul so it believes it has tried to do the best in difficult circumstances.
As far as Chelsea and City supporters are concerned, the final should be at Wembley.
This will be the third final in Portugal in eight years but the first in Porto.