June 16 – Reports that UEFA will complete the Champions League with a mini-tournament covering 11 days in a single city have been given further credence on the eve of a vital summit of its top brass.
Tomorrow’s UEFA executive committee meeting, which will be followed by a streamed on-line press conference, will apparently agree to the unique ‘Final Eight’ tournament in Lisbon in August after months of conjecture about how to finish the competition in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
UEFA is committed to finishing its two major tournaments following the conclusion of Europe’s domestic leagues.
This season’s Champions League final was originally scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul back on May 30 but the city apparently wasn’t keen on having fans present and potentially losing revenue. So UEFA came up with a contingency plan of staging the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of Europe’s premier club competition elsewhere but in the same city.
Under the plan, the competition, which was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, will resume with the second-leg of remaining last 16 games played at the scheduled venues.
After that, single leg one-off quarter-final games will be played in Lisbon on four straight days from Aug. 12-15, according to Reuters. The semi-finals will take place on Aug. 18 and 19 and the final on Aug. 23, also in the Portuguese capital.
The plan means the competition will have six fewer games which will cost UEFA considerable broadcast revenue.
All fixtures are apparently likely to be shared between Lisbon’s two major stadiums – Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and Sporting Lisbon’s Jose Alvalade stadium – almost certainly behind closed doors.
A similar mini-tournament format will apparently be used to decide the outcome of the Europa League but at a number of venues rather than just one and all in Germany.
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