UEFA confirm UCL final venue change

UEFA Champions League

There has been a late change in venue for the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City.

UEFA has confirmed that the 2020/21 Champions League final will no longer be held in Istanbul, Turkey, as a result of the nation being on the United Kingdom's red list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, European football's governing body has announced that the showpiece event will now take place at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal, in order to allow up to 6 000 fans per club from the two English sides to be in attendance.

"I think we can all agree that we hope never to experience a year like the one we have just endured," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in an official statement.

"Fans have had to suffer more than 12 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. 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.

"Once again we have turned to our friends in Portugal to help both UEFA and the Champions League and I am, as always, very grateful to the FPF and the Portuguese Government for agreeing to stage the match at such short notice.

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"They have worked tirelessly in very tight time constraints in finding solutions for the many challenges that hosting a game of this magnitude presents.

"Whenever there has been an obstacle, they have been creative in the solutions presented and the success of staging this year's final is entirely down to their hard work and persistence.

"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."

Many fans from across England were hoping the final would be played at the iconic Wembley Stadium due to both clubs being from Britain, but organising authorities were ultimately unable to put the arrangements in place in time.

"The difficulties of moving the final are great, and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it happen," Ceferin continued.

"The Turkish Football Federation and the Turkish authorities have recognised UEFA's efforts to give fans of the competing clubs a chance to watch the game.

"The Turkish Football Federation and the authorities have always been reliable partners of UEFA, and Turkey has hosted many UEFA events over the years with great success. I hope to be in Istanbul and Turkey for a Champions League final and many other events in the near future.

"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."

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