Porto to be confirmed as venue for Champions League final

porto-stadium

A view of Porto's Dragao stadium with its empty stands ahead of the Champions League round of 16, first leg, soccer match between FC Porto and Juventus, in Porto, Portugal, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (Luis Vieira/AP)

NYON, Switzerland — Porto is set to be confirmed as host of the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City after Portuguese authorities on Wednesday approved the return of supporters to stadiums.

UEFA is planning to announce by the end of the week that the 50,000-capacity Estadio do Dragão will be used for the May 29 showpiece with thousands of fans from both English clubs set to be allowed into the game, people with knowledge of the planning told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the talks.

Stadiums have been closed to spectators in Portugal but pandemic restrictions are being eased to allow them to be at 10% capacity for the final round of league games next Wednesday.

UEFA is hoping for more than 10,000 people to be at the Porto stadium after having to move the final from Istanbul to Portugal for a second successive year.

The initial backup plan had been to use Wembley Stadium in London but talks with the British government stalled on Monday over being able to secure quarantine waivers for the guests and broadcasters required by UEFA to attend the game.

UEFA on Wednesday announced that the referee for the final will be Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who sent Pep Guardiola off during a game three years ago.

The City manager confronted the Spanish official for ruling out a goal as his team lost to Liverpool in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2018. Mateu Lahoz has officiated in six matches in the elite European club competition this season.

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