Champions League final between Man City and Chelsea moved to Porto from Istanbul

UEFA had wanted to move the final to Wembley but there were issues over waiving quarantine rules for staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media; Portugal is on UK Government’s green list so UK visitors will be able to travel there from Sunday.

The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be played at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao on May 29, UEFA has confirmed.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 08: Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City passes the ball whilst under pressure from Reece James of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on May 08, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

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 in Istanbul, 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.

UEFA have confirmed 6,000 City and Chelsea fans will be allowed to attend although the overall stadium capacity is still to be finalised.

Portugal is on the government green list so UK 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.

Portuguese Minister of State Mariana Vieira da Silva expects all supporters will come in a bubble and have no contact with the general population.

Fans must come and go with charter flights on the same day and shall be taken straight to the stadium and back after the final.

Speaking at a press conference after a Council of Ministers meeting, Vieira da Silva said the final would have a limit of 12,000 fans at the stadium.

Explaining the move, UEFA said in a statement: “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.

“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.”

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