UEFA is giving strong consideration to moving the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea to Portugal. According to The Times, UEFA failed to find an agreement with the UK government about moving the final to the United Kingdom. Wembley Stadium in London was initially considered as the new destination for the final.
The Champions League final was initially expected to take place in Istanbul at the end of May. However, the spike in covid cases forced the UK government to put Turkey on the red list, making it difficult for English teams, fans, and journalists to travel for the final. Over the weekend, London looked likely to become the host city, while Aston Villa had also offered their stadium in Midlands to host the event.
The Times reports that Porto FC is ready to host the event after UEFA couldn’t get exemptions from the UK government for UEFA staff, VIPs, media, and sponsors. Since Portugal currently has no such restrictions, UEFA would prefer the final to take place in the home stadium of Porto FC.
Portugal had managed to host the knockout stages of the Champions League last season. After the pandemic had disrupted the season. UEFA decided to have single-leg knockout games in Portugal once all domestic leagues came to an end. Portugal successfully managed to stage all games, so even at short notice, the country will be able to make arrangements for the CL final.
Earlier in this year’s Champions League, there were restrictions for English teams travelling to Portugal as the quarter-final clash between Porto and Chelsea took place at a neutral venue in Spain. Meanwhile, Benfica and Arsenal also met at a neutral venue in the Europa League. However, such restrictions are now relaxed, allowing Manchester City and Chelsea to contest the final at the home stadium of Porto FC.