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Istanbul and Gdansk to host 2021 Uefa finals as ‘Final Eights’ approved

Official Adidas 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Match Ball (Photo by Visionhaus)

The Atatürk Olympic Stadium on the outskirts of Istanbul will now host the Uefa Champions League final in 2021 after Uefa, European football’s governing body, today (Wednesday) approved proposals for a ‘Final Eight’ tournament in Lisbon to conclude the 2019-20 edition.

The Turkish venue was scheduled to stage the 2020 final but its hosting has been pushed back a year as a result of the decisions taken today (Wednesday) by the Uefa executive committee.

Similarly, Gdansk in Poland will play host to the Uefa Europa League final in 2021 instead of this year with details of the anticipated knockout competition in Germany also ratified today.

The hosts of the subsequent Champions League and Europa League finals have all agreed to host their respective matches a year later than originally planned.

This means that St. Petersburg will stage the Champions League final in 2022, Munich will play host in 2023 and London’s Wembley Stadium will be the venue for the 2024 final. Seville will now host the 2023 Europa League final and Budapest will be the 2024 host.

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.

Under the plans decided upon today about the resumption of Uefa competitions in August following the Covid-19 shutdown, Lisbon will play host to the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a straight knock-out tournament held between August 12 and 23.

The single-leg matches will be played Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and Sporting’s Estádio José Alvalade.

Any remaining round-of-16 fixtures are to be played on August 7 and 8, pending a decision on whether they take place at the home team’s stadium or at the Portuguese venues. Porto’s Estádio do Dragão and Guimarães’ Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques will be added as round-of-16 venues if necessary, Uefa said.

All remaining 2019-20 Champions League matches will kick off at 9pm (CET).

A similar format will be used for the Europa League.

The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will also be played as a straight knock-out tournament with the matches held in the German cities of Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen and Cologne between August 10 and 21.

The round-of-16 matches will be played on August 5 and 6 with stipulated kick-off times of 6:55pm and 9pm. Uefa noted: “A decision will be made in due course on whether the round-of-16 matches for which the first leg has already been played will be staged at the home team’s venue or in Germany.”

Meanwhile, a similar ‘Final Eight’ system will be employed for the women’s Champions League with the Spanish cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian hosting a tournament from August 21-30.

The 2020 Uefa Super Cup, which was set to be staged in Porto, will now be contested at the Puskas Arena in Budapest (on September 24 at 9pm).

The subsequent editions of the match will take place as originally scheduled in Belfast (2021), Helsinki (2022) and Kazan (2023).

Uefa’s executive committee also confirmed today that all 12 host cities for the 2020 Uefa European Championship have retained their hosting rights for the tournament, which will now be played in the summer of 2021.