Champions League mini-tournament proposed, Lisbon a contender – sources

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UEFA is considering completing the 2019-20 Champions League campaign with a mini-tournament, and Lisbon is one of three options to be the host city, sources have told ESPN.

This season’s Champions League has been suspended since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic with four round-of-16 ties yet to be completed, along with the remainder of the tournament.

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According to reports in German newspaper Bild, UEFA is assessing plans to play out the competition in a localised mini-tournament from the quarterfinal stage onwards amid concerns that Istanbul, which was due to host the final last month, will no longer be able or willing to stage the competition’s final.

With international travel into Turkey still restricted and concerns among local authorities about the financial burden of staging a Champions League final without 100,000 visiting fans, UEFA has been forced to draw up contingency plans for the staging of the final, sources have told ESPN.

Istanbul continues to be under consideration, sources have told ESPN, but Germany and Portugal are now the most likely options to stage the conclusion of the competition.

Lisbon is regarded as a strong candidate to step in due to the availability of two modern stadiums — Benfica‘s Estadio da Luz and Sporting CP‘s Estadio Jose Alvalade — within just 5 km of each other. Estadio da Luz staged Real Madrid‘s Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in 2014.

Top-level football has resumed in Portugal following the coronavirus shutdown, and Lisbon appeals to UEFA because it offers a neutral venue due to the elimination of all Portuguese clubs prior to the round-of-16.

Eintracht Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena is understood to be the venue being considered in Germany because of the stadium’s modern facilities and the travel advantages of the city’s Frankfurt am Main international airport.

UEFA are expected to make a decision on the staging of the final when its executive committee convenes later this month.

The Champions League and Europa League are suspended at the round-of 16 stage with Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Atalanta the four sides to have qualified for the quarterfinals.

Four round-of-16 second-leg ties have yet to be played: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, Juventus vs. Lyon, Barcelona vs. Napoli and Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea.


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