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UEFA moves Man City, Chelsea champions league match to Portugal

By News Desk

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has moved the 2021 all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea to Porto, Portugal following the outbreak of the third wave of coronavirus in Turkey.

UEFA, who had earlier approved the stadium in Istanbul, said that the decision to move the continental showpiece to Porto was taken after Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, places a lockdown on the country amid COVID-19 third wave.

The football body announced the shift on Thursday after United Kingdom (UK) restricted travel to Turkey but listed Portugal as one of the few countries where Britons can travel without restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of a deliberation that lasted for several minutes, they agreed that the final will be played on May 29 at the Estádio Dragão in the coastal city of Porto.

The decision to move the final from Istanbul, which recently re-entered a virus-related lockdown, to Porto, came after discussions between European soccer leaders and British government officials, who had been seeking to bring the game to London.

When the sides failed to reach an agreement that would have allowed the teams and their domestic fans to avoid international travel, Portugal was chosen as the site of the game for the second year in a row.

It had been scheduled to be played at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, but that would have ruled out attendance for most British fans of the finalists, since Turkey is on a so-called red list of countries to which travel is discouraged.

Holding the game in Turkey also raised the prospect that players and officials from both teams would have to quarantine for as long as 10 days upon their return to England. That would have complicated the preparations of a handful of national teams for this summer’s European Championship, which begins June 11.

The game will be played with Estádio Dragão’s capacity of about 50,000 reduced to less than half that figure. City and Chelsea are expected to receive 6,000 tickets for their fans, figures that mirrored the allotments in Turkey.

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