Chelsea and Manchester City fans face strict Portuguese travel requirements

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English fans travelling to Portugal for the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City have been told they must fly in and out of the country within 24 hours.

The Portuguese government also said supporters will have to operate in ‘bubbles’, arrive and depart only on charter planes, and face Covid-19 tests for the May 29 clash in Porto.

The European showpiece has been switched from Istanbul after the UK Government added Turkey to its high-risk ‘red list’ for international travel.

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Chelsea and City will each be provided with 6,000 tickets for the match at the Estadio do Dragao.

Quoted on the BBC website, Portugal’s cabinet affairs minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said “Those who come to the final of the Champions League will come and return on the same day, with a test done, in a bubble situation, on charter flights.

“There will be two fan zones and from there they will be moved to the stadium and from the stadium to the airport, being in Portugal less than 24 hours.

“Obviously those coming by plane [to be in Porto while the match is on but do not actually go the stadium] will comply with the established rules and security measures will be put in place.”

City said on their website that they will provide “qualifying supporters an official day trip travel package from Manchester to Porto.”

Wembley was considered as an alternative to Porto, but the UK Government could not accommodate UEFA’s request to allow quarantine exemptions for thousands of sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters.

Secretary of State Oliver Dowden told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing the UK Government had constructive dialogue with UEFA but a resolution could not be reached.

“Ultimately I was unable and the Government was unable to give an assurance to UEFA that we would be willing to vary our quarantine rules in the way they wished to happen,” Dowden said.

“We had a very constructive discussion with UEFA and it was a genuine difference that couldn’t be overcome. I respect the decision that UEFA made and I think they respect the fact the Government wasn’t able to move on that.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (left) and Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel will go head to head in Porto (Ben Stansall/PA)
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (left) and Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel will go head to head in Porto (Ben Stansall/PA)

The decision means Portugal will host the Champions League final for the second year in a row, after Lisbon was the location for the delayed final stages of last season’s competition.

UEFA said: “The final was originally scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul but, following the UK government’s decision to place Turkey on its red list of Covid-19 travel destinations, staging the final there would have meant none of the clubs’ domestic fans would be able to travel to the game.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the UK Government turned down UEFA's request to bring 2,000 personnel into the country for the Champions League final (Yui Mok/PA)
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the UK Government turned down UEFA’s request to bring 2,000 personnel into the country for the Champions League final (Yui Mok/PA)

“After a year of fans being locked out of stadiums, UEFA thought that everything needed to be done to ensure the supporters of the two finalist teams could attend.

“UEFA discussed moving the match to England but, despite exhaustive efforts on the part of the Football Association and the authorities, it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements.”

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