MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced a decision on Thursday to relocate the Champions League final match between English football clubs Manchester City and Chelsea from Turkey’s Istanbul to Portugal’s Porto.
"The UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City FC and Chelsea FC will be held at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto on 29 May 2021, kick off 21:00 CEST, following an offer to stage the game by the Portuguese FA (FPF) and the Portuguese authorities," the UEFA’s press service said in a statement.
The match was initially scheduled to be played at the Ataturk Stadium in Turkey’s Istanbul, however, the UK government recently placed Turkey on its red list of COVID-19 travel restrictions, which means that the final could have been held without fans in attendance at the stadium.
"After a year of fans being locked out of stadiums, UEFA thought that everything needed to be done to ensure the supporters of the two finalist teams could attend," the statement reads. "The Portuguese authorities and the FPF stepped in and worked quickly and seamlessly with UEFA to offer a fitting venue for the final and, as Portugal is a green list destination for England, fans and players attending the final will not have to quarantine on their return home."
The UEFA stated that 12,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the match between Manchester City and Chelsea with tickets distributed equally between the clubs, i.e. 6,000 for each of them.
"Fans of the competing teams will be able to buy tickets through the clubs in the usual way, with the 6,000 tickets per club going on sale as soon as possible from today," the statement reads.
Commenting on the decision, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: "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," he continued. "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."
"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," Ceferin stated.
"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," the UEFA president added.