UEFA seeking guarantees over fan access to Portugal for Champions League final

Only limited essential travel into Portugal is currently allowed.

By Press Association Published: 12 May 2021 - 12.21pm

UEFA is working to receive the necessary guarantees over fan access to Portugal before making a firm decision on where to host the Champions League final.

The PA news agency understands European football’s governing body is seeking clarity over what will happen when current international travel Covid-19 restrictions in Portugal end on Sunday, and that it may take until Thursday to receive the information it needs.

Currently travel into Portugal from other countries is only allowed in limited essential cases, which as it stands would mean Chelsea and Manchester City supporters could not attend the match on May 29.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Turkey had been placed on the international travel 'red list' last Friday
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Turkey had been placed on the international travel ‘red list’ last Friday (Tolga Akmen/PA)

UEFA will also want to know how many spectators can attend the match, with Porto’s Estadio do Dragao understood to be the venue being considered.

Fans will be allowed into matches in the final round of the Portuguese top flight later this month, the league announced on Wednesday, but venues will be limited to 10 per cent of capacity.

UEFA will clearly hope the Portuguese authorities will allow a higher percentage for its showpiece match.

The prospect of Wembley hosting the final is fading fast, unless the Portuguese plan hits a hitch. It is understood the British Government’s position regarding quarantine exemptions for sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters being sought by UEFA has not changed since an initial meeting on Monday morning.

Meetings between them have been cordial, but the Government is concerned about giving the exemptions on foreign arrivals at a time when the country is trying to ease domestic lockdown restrictions.

The uncertainty over the location of the match began when the British Government placed the original host country – Turkey – on its high-risk ‘red list’ for international travel.

DCMS committee member Steve Brine has called on UEFA to put fans first
DCMS committee member Steve Brine has called on UEFA to put fans first (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who announced that decision last Friday, said Chelsea and Manchester City fans should not travel to Istanbul.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust is meeting with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin this week to discuss the matter, and its position remains that the match should be moved to the UK.

Conservative MP Steve Brine, who sits on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, said on Tuesday that UEFA should prioritise fans over the ‘prawn sandwich’ contingent.

“We’ve all had to make sacrifices in the last year and we’ve missed things far more important than a game of football,” he told talkSPORT.

“So if the game goes ahead with the fans, and without some of the officials with their prawn sandwiches, well then, for a league (UEFA) that is interested in primarily the fans, that shouldn’t be a big ask should it?”

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