UEFA Champions League: Final between Manchester City and Chelsea moved to Porto from Istanbul

The UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea has been moved from Istanbul to Porto due to high coronavirus cases.

Chelsea and Manchester City will play in an all-England UEFA Champions League final in Porto instead of Istanbul. (Image credit: Twitter)

For the second consecutive year, the UEFA Champions League final will not be held at the Ataturk stadium in Istanbul. The 2021 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea, which was expected to be held in Istanbul, has been shifted to Porto in Portugal. According to various media reports, Turkey is in the midst of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The United Kingdom has put Turkey on the ‘red list’, meaning travel from both countries is difficult. 

Turkey’s loss is Portugal’s gain for the second consecutive year. The 2020 Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain was held in Lisbon. This year, Porto will host the final. There is another coronavirus reason for the UEFA Champions League final to be held in Portugal.

The travelling of Manchester City and Chelsea fans

Talks between UEFA, the UK government and the English football authorities failed to progress over fans traveling to watch the match. While Turkey is on the ‘red list’, Portugal is on the ‘green list’ meaning there will be no restrictions on travel. 6,000 Manchester City supporters and 6,000 Chelsea supporters will be permitted to attend.

Turkey is seeing 13000 new cases of coronavirus cases for the last fortnight. Portugal, on the other hand, has seen 485 cases and the rise of new cases has been low. Portugal has reported close to 17000 deaths while Turkey has deaths close to 44000. 

Why not play in England?

The option of playing even in England was reportedly discussed. UEFA had wanted quarantine exemptions for various attendees — such as sponsors, VIP and its staff —and also for the capacity of spectators to be raised. According to a report in The Athletic, it is believed the UK government was unable to provide these concessions. With the UEFA Champions League final not been played in England, the FA Cup final will be held in Wembley.

Manchester City have never won the UEFA Champions League while Chelsea have lost twice in the final. Although Chelsea have won the prestigious tournament once, they will be up against a determined Manchester City side. Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Premier League but Pep Guardiola’s side managed to win the Premier League comfortably.

Sportslumo Desk

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