The 2020 Champions League final could be played in Lisbon at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz, rather than Istanbul where the game was originally scheduled to go ahead before the coronavirus crisis sent world football into a spiral of uncertainty.
Both the Champions League and Europa League are expected to resume some time in August when various domestic leagues across the continent have been concluded.
Mundo Deportivo (MD) writes that UEFA are not expected to make any formal announcement before June 17, but claims Istanbul will soon relinquish the Champions League final over economic concerns over having to play the game in a closed stadium.
The final could be moved to Lisbon, along with the remainder of the competition that would see the quarter-finals and semi-finals all played in the Portuguese capital. In that scenario, Sporting CP’s Jose Alvalade stadium could also be brought in as an additional venue.
Munich and Madrid are also said to be ‘on the table’, although it appears Lisbon is favourite.
Portugal has coped relatively well with the coronavirus crisis compared to some of its larger neighbours and in April was referred to as ‘Europe’s coronavirus exception’.
MD notes that given the inability for clubs to sell tickets and ongoing uncertainty surrounding international air travel, the normally two-legged quarters and semis could be played as a single one-off knockout game over a period of a week or 10 days.
There is still lots of uncertainty, but there are some calls to bring the proposed but unconfirmed Champions League final date forward a week from 29 August to 22 August. There are, however, potential clashes to consider with the Europa League.
The Women’s Champions League final is still expected to go ahead in Vienna, although as with the men’s competition the remaining rounds could all now be played in the Austrian capital.
Edited by Tiyani wa ka Mabasa