Germany and Portugal are the leading contenders to stage a new-look finale to the 2019 Uefa Champions League season, according to multiple reports.
European football’s governing body is said to be weighing up a new model to conclude the Champions League season, which is still stuck at the round-of-16 phase due to the calendar shutdown amid Covid-19.
The Associated Press news agency, citing a person with knowledge of the situation, said Germany and Portugal are contenders to host an event which would combine the tournament’s quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in one location.
The priority for choosing a location is said to be accessibility for players and officials as fans are unlikely to be allowed to attend games due to Covid-19 restrictions. Uefa is due to gather its Executive Committee on June 17 to discuss a range of matters, including new plans for the postponed Euro 2020 national team tournament.
German news agency DPA said Frankfurt and its Commerzbank-Arena, home of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, could be a location for the Champions League in Germany. Markus Frank, head of sports for the City of Frankfurt, said: “Frankfurt is always able to help. Of course we are interested, even if it is carried out differently than usual.”
Meanwhile, Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo said the Portuguese capital Lisbon is targeting the hosting rights to a ‘Final Four’ or ‘Final Eight’ tournament, utilising the Estadio Da Luz, home of Primeira Liga club Benfica, as the main venue and Estádio José Alvalade, which hosts Sporting, as a support stadium. It added that Munich and Atletico de Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano could be potential hosts.
It was reported last week that Uefa is planning to move the 2019-20 Champions League final away from Istanbul due to the pandemic and is thought to be weighing up alternative locations ahead of an ExCo meeting later this month.
This season’s Champions League final was due to have taken place at Atatürk Olympic Stadium on May 30, but Uefa is said to have already concluded Istanbul is no longer viable as a host city.
Atatürk Olympic Stadium was awarded hosting rights to the 2020 Champions League final in May 2018. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) last month underlined its intention to retain hosting rights to the game, staging it in August to conclude its domestic season.