The Champions League is finally ready to determine the top club in Europe.
This was no easy task with the COVID-19 pandemic providing a permanent backdrop to Europe’s top competition. The championship match, an all-English affair between Chelsea and Manchester City, will put a stamp on one of the most absurd tournaments in the history of the Champions League.
Indeed, COVID-19 had one last ramification for the two Premier League teams, moving their match from its original location to ensure a safer viewing experience for fans.
With that, here’s everything you need to know about the Champions League final, including where it is, why it moved and fan availability.
Where is the Champions League final in 2021?
The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will take place at Estadio Dragao in Porto, Portugal. The site was arranged as a replacement for Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
Why was Chelsea vs. Manchester City moved from Istanbul?
UEFA organizers moved the Champions League final from Istanbul on May 13 after the United Kingdom placed the country on its “red list” because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. That meant any supporters for either Chelsea or Man City would have been unable to fly into the country — a less-than-ideal scenario for the all-English final.
According to a report from ESPN, UEFA considered moving the match to England before settling on Estadio Dragao. The UK would not have provided quarantine exemption to roughly 2,000 UEFA staff, broadcasters and sponsorship partners, meaning UEFA had to look elsewhere.
“I think we can all agree that we hope never to experience a year like the one we have just endured,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said (via ESPN). “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.
“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. After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.”
Will there be fans at the Champions League final?
Yes, though there won’t be nearly enough fans to fill Estadio Dragao’s listed capacity of 50,033.
Portuguese authorities have confirmed a stadium capacity of 33 percent, or up to 16,500 spectators. Chelsea and Manchester City are each allowed to send 6,000 apiece — the same amount as would have been allowed in Ataturk Olympic Stadium — plus 1,700 general public tickets, and 2,000 or so UEFA partners.
That said, supporters traveling to watch the final are subject to several rules while in Portugal. English fans attending the final will have to fly in the day of the match (Saturday) “with a test done” in a bubble situation on chartered flights. Once in Porto, they will wait in one of two “fan zones” before being moved to the stadium. The local health authority is in charge of selecting seats, ensuring social distancing. Tickets are non-transferable.
After the match is over, visitors will be moved back to the airport. In all, they are expected to remain in Portugal for fewer than 24 hours.
Because Portugal is on the UK’s “green list,” fans traveling back from the Champions League final will not be subject to a quarantine period.
How to buy Champions League final tickets
Ticket sales for each team’s 6,000 allotted fans were conducted by the clubs themselves. Sales of 1,700 general tickets opened Tuesday at UEFA.com on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Fans who expect access to Estadio Dragao will need either proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test from May 26-29) or a rapid antigen test result from May 28-29. Fans from abroad must comply with border entry restrictions and requirements.
Tickets are limited to two per customer. Fans will be expected to provide personal details and guest details while making their purchases. Below are ticket categories and prices (adjusted to the U.S. dollar):
- Category 4: $85.72
- Category 3: $220.42
- Category 2: $551.08
- Category 1: $734.78
- Accessibility tickets: $85.72 (companion ticket provided for free)