Champions League final moved from Istanbul to Porto with Chelsea and Man City allocated 6,000 tickets each

Portugal will play host to the Champions League final for the second year in a row after Turkey was placed on the UK government’s ‘red list’, preventing fans from travelling to Istanbul

<p>The safe capacity of the Estadio do Dragao will be decided by Portuguese authorities</p>

The safe capacity of the Estadio do Dragao will be decided by Portuguese authorities

The 2021 Uefa Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea has been moved from Istanbul to Porto, it has been confirmed.

Each club has been allocated 6,000 tickets for the match, which will go on sale “as soon as possible”. Further tickets will be available on general sale from 24 May – only days before the final on 29 May – once the safe capacity of the Estadio do Dragao is established by Portuguese authorities.

The UK government’s decision to place Turkey on the high-risk ‘red list’ for international travel threw plans to stage the all-English showpiece in Istanbul into disarray last week. Transport secretary Grant Shapps recommended that supporters of the two clubs should not travel for the match, but added that the government was “very open” to staging it in England, with Wembley Stadium mooted.

But with the UK authorities unwilling to relax certain travel restrictions to allow people including sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters into the country, the game has instead been moved to Portugal. FC Porto’s Estadio do Dragao will now play host, a second-consecutive year the showpiece game has been played in Portugal after Uefa shifted the whole latter stages of the tournament to Lisbon a season ago.

Uefa released a statement which stressed the importance of supporters in its decision-making, pointedly so in the wake of the Super League fiasco, in which both Chelsea and City were a part.

Uefa said: “The final was originally scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul but, following the UK government's decision to place Turkey on its red list of Covid-19 travel destinations, staging the final there would have meant none of the clubs’ domestic fans would be able to travel to the game.

“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.”

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin added: “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 (Portuguese football federation) and the Portuguese government for agreeing to stage the match at such short notice.

“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 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.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments