Why UEFA moved Champions League final from Istanbul to Porto

The all-English Champions League final will be held in Porto with 12,000 fans from Chelsea and Manchester City, UEFA has confirmed.

The May 29 showpiece was moved from Istanbul to the 50,000-capacity Estadio do Dragao after England imposed tougher pandemic travel restrictions on Turkey that would have prevented fans from flying in.

“Fans have had to suffer more than 12 months without the ability to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.

“To deprive those supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option and I am delighted that this compromise has been found,” he added

The UEFA president said Turkish authorities had been “reliable partners” of UEFA and hosted many events in previous years “with great success”

“I hope to be in Istanbul and Turkey for a Champions League final and many other events in the near future.”

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City coach Pep Guardiola said he would have preferred Turkey as the venue for midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, whose grandfather comes from Balikesir, south of Istanbul.

“I have had the pleasure to go to Istanbul but since my period as a football player in Barcelona, I never had the opportunity to go there again, not even in the Champions League,” he said at a press conference.

“For Ilkay Gundogan I wanted to go there. Unfortunately, UEFA decided to go to Portugal, but there’s no problem there.”

The final capacity for the match is still to be decided but the Portuguese government has said any travelling fans will be required to stay in a “bubble” and fly back immediately after the match.

Last season’s Champions League matches from the quarter-finals onwards were also held in Portugal, in the city of Lisbon.

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