UEFA stated: “Porto was chosen to replace Istanbul, following the insurmountable travel difficulties of English supporters, taking into account that Turkey is on the UK ‘red list’.
UEFA also confirmed the presence of at least 12,000 spectators in the Estádio do Dragão, however at the time of going to press fans were still due to be part of a special “bubble” and will only be in Portugal for a maximum of 24 hours, despite both Portugal and the UK now having a reciprocal agreement regarding non-essential travel and no need for quarantine upon return or arrival from either country.
“The stadium’s capacity for the game will be finalised and confirmed in due course, in cooperation with the Portuguese authorities and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). However, fans of the finalist teams will be able to buy tickets through the clubs in the usual way, with 6,000 tickets available per club, which will go on sale as soon as possible”.
“Once again, we call on our partners in Portugal to help us and I am, as always, very grateful to the Portuguese Football Federation and the Portuguese Government for having agreed to organise the game in such a short period of time,” said the UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin.
The city of Porto and Estádio do Dragão will host the third final of a Champions League in Portugal and the second in a row, since just under a year ago, precisely because of the global public health crisis, UEFA opted for a ‘final eight’ in Lisbon, at the Luz and José Alvalade stadiums.
“They have been working tirelessly with such limited time constraints to find solutions to the challenges of organising a match of this magnitude. Whenever there is an obstacle, they have been creative in the solutions they have found and the fact that they are organising this year’s final is clearly due to the hard work and perseverance they have shown,”added Ceferin.
When the news broke, the Portuguese government announced that foreign fans traveling to Porto to watch the final of the football Champions League will stay less than 24 hours in Portugal and will all be tested for Covid-19 and at the time of going to press this advice had not yet changed.
“People who come to the Champions League final will arrive and return on the same day, with a completed Covid test, in a bubble situation, that is, on charter flights, with trips to a waiting area. Then they will go to the stadium and then to the airport, being in national territory less than 24 hours, in a bubble and with mandatory tests, done, in principle, before getting on the plane ”, said the Minister of State and the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva.
The official confirmed that the Estádio do Dragão could have a maximum capacity of 12,000 people and that the seats will be marked and designated by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).
“All tickets will be nominal and have seats marked,” added Mariana Vieira da Silva.
One rule for the English
Meanwhile, the decision to allow fans to with the Champions League final in Portugal which home fans are still unable to attend matches has left fans “confused”.
Speaking to the Lusa agency, Martha Gens, the president of the Portuguese Adept Defense Association (APDA) stressed that “it is not clear what the Government’s position is” in relation to this issue, as the Secretary of State for Youth and Sports confirmed that the final of the Portuguese Cup, between Benfica and Sporting de Braga, will not have any fans in attendance.
The Government’s position contrasts with the decision to host the Champions League final at Estádio do Dragão, in Porto.
“It is a game just for the English to see. After all, they are two English teams that are entitled to 25 percent of the capacity of a stadium in Portugal, while the Portuguese fans seem to be begging for that possibility”, criticized the president of APDA.
According to the fans’ representative, “it is strange” that UEFA has ensured that, whatever the destination, the Champions League final “would have fans and when they do choose a country, it is where there have been no fans in the stadiums for a year”.
The Secretary of State for Youth and Sports has announced that the final of Portuguese between Sporting de Braga and Benfica, which will be played on Sunday in Coimbra, will not have spectators.
João Paulo Rebelo stated that the government has no plans to make the event a pilot event. Asked about the public’s presence in the Champions League final, the official simply noted that this was “a requirement” for the game to come to Portugal.