News Live Scores
UEFA Champions League

Champions League final moved to Portugal with 12,000 Chelsea & Man City fans in attendance

6:39 PM GMT+8 13/05/2021
Thomas Tuchel Pep Guardiola Champions League
UEFA has confirmed that a European showpiece that had been due to take place in Turkey will now be staged at Estadio do Dragao

UEFA has confirmed that the 2021 Champions League final will now take place at Estadio do Dragao in Porto, with 12,000 Chelsea and Manchester City supporters set to be in attendance.

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul had been due to stage a European showpiece, but the UK government's decision to place Turkey on a red list of Covid-19 travel destinations has forced a scheduling change.

Two Premier League heavyweights will still lock horns on May 29 and will also be cheered on by 6,000 fans from each club as lockdown restrictions at major sporting events begin to ease.

What has been said?

UEFA has said in an official statement, with various stadiums in England initially offered up as alternate venues: "UEFA discussed moving the match to England but, despite exhaustive efforts on the part of the Football Association and the authorities, it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements.

"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 decision does not come without big regret for the work that the Turkish football authorities have done over the last two years to ensure the successful staging of the final in Istanbul. UEFA is grateful also for their continued partnership and cooperative spirit as well as the understanding they showed in this particular circumstance and will urgently look into future opportunities for the city of Istanbul.

"The stadium capacity for the match will be finalised and confirmed in due course in cooperation with the Portuguese authorities and the FPF.  However, 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.  Arrangements for the sale of tickets to the general public will start on 24 May 2021 at 1400 CEST."

The bigger picture

Portugal also played host to the latter stages of the Champions League in 2019-20, with the decision taken to play one-off fixtures, rather than two-legged ties, from the quarter-finals onwards - with Bayern Munich eventually claiming the crown.

Lisbon found itself at the centre of continental competition on that occasion, but attention will now switch to Porto as Chelsea seek to replicate their success from 2012 and Manchester City go in search of a first European Cup triumph.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has said: "I think we can all agree that we hope never to experience a year like the one we have just endured.

"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.

"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.

"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. 

"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.

"The Turkish football federation and the Turkish authorities have recognised the 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."

Further reading