Champions League to Conclude with 8-team Lisbon Tournament-UEFA
The Champions League will be completed with an eight-team tournament hosted in Lisbon, UEFA has confirmed.
UEFA’s Executive Committee gave the green light for Portugal’s capital to host a condensed finish to Europe’s premier club competition on Wednesday, with the tournament having been halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Quarter-final matches will take place across four nights from August 12-16, with last-four games contested on August 18-19, and the showpiece to be held at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on August 23.
The quarter-final and semi-final ties will have just one leg as opposed to the traditional two, Sporting CP’s Estadio Jose Alvalade also hosting fixtures.
The outstanding last-16 games will be completed on August 7-8, though a decision has not yet been taken on whether they will be played at the home stadiums without fans or in Portugal. The Estadio do Dragao in Porto and the Estadio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes will be added as venues if need be.
“I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.
“The football community has worked together and shown tremendous unity during this unprecedented crisis. I would like to thank FIFA, our sister confederations, national associations, clubs, leagues, players and the relevant authorities for their continuous support and commitment and I am convinced that we come out of this crisis stronger and with closer links than ever before.”
Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium was originally scheduled to host the final in May but the outbreak of COVID-19 meant that was no longer a possibility.
UEFA confirmed Istanbul will now be the venue of the 2021 showpiece, with the three subsequent final hosts of St Petersburg, Munich and London (Wembley) all agreeing to move back by a year.
Spain, Germany and Russia were touted as potential replacements for this year, yet Lisbon’s location coupled with the fact the Primeira Liga – which resumed behind closed doors this month and is yet to run into complications – has no teams remaining in the competition saw it favoured.
Reports suggest all teams will have hotels away from the public to maintain social distancing, with Portugal having an abundance of accommodation options and no quarantine rules in place.
It was also announced that Germany will be the venue to complete the Europa League from the quarter-finals onwards, with Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen the cities putting on games from August 10-21.
Six last-16 contests still have a second leg to be played, with UEFA yet to take a decision on where they will take place. Inter’s tie with Getafe and Sevilla’s against Roma will be played as one-off games at a venue yet to be determined.
Gdansk was meant to host the Europa League final, which will now take place in Cologne, and will instead do so in 2021, with Sevilla and Budapest moving to 2022 and 2023 respectively.
UEFA confirmed a couple of amendments to its club competition rules for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, including the use of five substitutes in accordance with the temporary change to the Laws of the Game. It will return to a maximum of three subs in 2020-21.
Teams remaining in competitions can register three new players to their List A, providing they were eligible at the previous deadline of February 3. Clubs will not be permitted to add newly transferred players to their squads.