Porto’s Estadio do Dragao is set to host the Champions League final on May 29, but attendance at the 50,000-seat stadium could be limited to just 25%.
The Portuguese city is now the favorite to host the all-English Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City, Sports messaging includes, with an announcement expected Wednesday afternoon.
UEFA’s centerpiece is set to move from Istanbul to Portugal, like last year due to pandemic concerns in Turkey.
And the Estadio do Dragao in Porto is being designated as the venue for the final after talks with the UK government over the use of Wembley Stadium were blocked.
Estadio do Dragao in Porto is in preparation for the Champions League final
Fans may have mixed feelings about Porto’s emergence as a host city.
Although disappointed that Wembley is not ready to host the final, they say what they want now is a decision, so they can make firm plans for the game. However, the capacity may be limited.
Portugal still do not allow supporters to attend football matches, and although this should be relaxed, local authorities are likely to impose a limit to ensure safety.
The Europa League final, due to be played in Poland on May 26, will admit only 9,500 supporters, just under 25% of the capacity of the Gdansk stadium.
Manchester City and Chelsea to face each other in the match, which was scheduled to take place in Istanbul
The allocation was divided into 2,000 tickets for the finalists, Manchester United and Villareal, 2,000 in general sale and 3,500 will go to the local organizing committee, UEFA and national associations, business partners and broadcasters.
When discussing the organization of the Champions League final at Wembley, UK authorities were also willing to accept a 25% capacity, 22,500 fans, at Wembley, which sources say included as much as to 3000 VIPs, guests and presenters.
Similar arrangements at Porto would reduce club allowances to 4,000 or less.
Manchester City are likely to meet Chelsea in Porto for Champions League final
There were hopes Chelsea and City could meet at Wembley for the all-English game on May 29.
UEFA and the UK government have struggled to bring the game to London, but the EU governing body has been unable to secure the quarantine exemptions required for VIPs and media to visit. the capital for the height of its greatest competition.
It is understood that the discussions were constructive, but neither side was able to meet the needs of the other and UEFA had to look elsewhere.
Fans desperately need to make their plans with less than three weeks left.
Manchester City Supporters Club general secretary Kevin Parker told The Telegraph: “I think most City fans are now at the point where they don’t really care about the final.
“They just want to know where it’s going to be so that they can make arrangements, plan in the hope that they can get tickets and get there.
“People have work to think about; they have to think about cost issues. It’s just not fair, really.
And Tim Rolls, the former chairman of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, added: “It’s pretty stressful because we just don’t know.
City fans celebrate their team’s victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League
Chelsea fans celebrate off the ground after beating Real Madrid 2-0 in semi-final
While it would have been more ideal for the thousands of England fans to play the game at home, Portugal joins at least England’s ‘green list’ of 12 low-risk territories where people are not required to put. in quarantine on their return. from next Monday.
Portugal will also need to lift their current block on British tourists to allow an influx of supporters and ensure that UEFA can guarantee the entry of the required staff.
Playing the game with fans and sponsor guests is crucial for UEFA after having to stage last season’s final in Lisbon, won by Bayern Munich, without spectators being allowed due to the coronavirus restrictions of the Portugal which are now relaxed.
It was Turkey that was added to England’s “red list” of countries with severe coronavirus outbreaks that complicated the final in Istanbul.
Fans would not have been able to leave England for the match and most of those returning would have had to spend 10 days of mandatory isolation at the hotel.
But the Estadio do Dragao, 59,000 seats in Porto, now seems to host the flagship event
Pep Guardiola plans City’s first-ever Champions League win and first in 10 years
Chelsea reserved their place in the final by beating Real Madrid in the semi-final, while Premier League champions City beat French giant PSG.
City manager Pep Guardiola is in contention for his first Champions League title in 10 years, while for his side this is their first appearance in the final of the European elite club competition.
Chelsea won the tournament in 2012, beating Bayern Munich on penalties.
The weekend after both reaching the final, City and Chelsea met in the Premier League with Thomas Tuchel’s side winning 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.