Soccer-Wembley complications mean Porto emerges as option for Champions League final


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Semi Final Second Leg - Chelsea v Real Madrid - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - May 5, 2021 Chelsea fans celebrate outside the stadium after reaching the Champions League final Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs/File Photo

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Complications with moving the Champions League final from Istanbul to London's Wembley stadium have led to Porto emerging as a new option for the May 29th clash between Manchester City and Chelsea, sources have told Reuters.

Organisers UEFA have been in talks with the UK government and Football Association aimed at moving the final to Wembley after Turkey was last week put on the UK's 'red list' ruling out any English fans attending the game.

But a source with knowledge of the discussions said that while talks would continue on Tuesday, obstacles have emerged around the need for exemptions for international broadcasters, technical and support staff and sponsors.

Given many of those individuals, from various countries, would currently need to quarantine on arrival in the UK, it would require a wide range of exemptions that has made a swift agreement difficult to find.

The Football Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Istanbul is highly unlikely to host the game given the circumstances and moving the game to Porto offers a way for English fans to still be able to attend, albeit at greater cost and effort than holding the match at Wembley.

Last week, the UK government placed Portugal on its 'green list' from May 17th which means that English fans would be free to travel to the game should it be moved.

Portugal is currently on the last phase of easing the lockdown and it expects to lift travel restrictions from May 17.

Last year's final was moved from Istanbul to Lisbon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but sources indicated that Portuguese authorities would prefer for Porto to host the game, should the country be given the option.

UEFA and the Portuguese Football Federation declined to comment.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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