The 2021 men’s Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea due to take place on May 29 has been moved to FC Porto‘s Estadio Dragao. It was due to be held in the Turkish city of Istanbul but people in the UK are not allowed to fly to Turkey due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Sources had told ESPN on Saturday that UEFA were in talks with UK government about moving the final to England. However the UK government would not to grant quarantine exemption to approximately 2,000 UEFA staff, broadcasters, sponsorship partnerrs.
Turkey is on a national lockdown until May 17 but, with visitors from England — where both finalists hail from — limited, it raised serious doubts over the suitability of Istanbul to host the match.
UEFA are keen to have fans in attendance for the game and one of the pre-requisites for an English stadium hosting the contest was for the UK government to loosen its strict COVID-19 regulations. Failure to find an agreement meant European football’s governing body had to look elsewhere.
Porto had been due to host the 2020 UEFA Super Cup between Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Europa League victors Sevilla but that was moved to Budapest in Hungary due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
It means for the second season running, the Champions League final will be moved from Istanbul to Portugal, with the 2020 showpiece between Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain staged at Benfica‘s Estadio da Luz stadium in Lisbon. Bayern won the game 1-0.
City are in their first-ever final, while Chelsea are aiming to win the competition for the second time, having last won it in 2012.