English fans attending the Champions League final in Porto between Manchester City and Chelsea will have to fly in on the day of the match and will need to stay in a ‘bubble’ before flying back straight after the game, the Portuguese government said on Thursday.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA confirmed on Thursday that the game had been moved from original host Istanbul to Porto in order to ensure that English fans could attend.
Turkey was on the UK government’s ‘red list’ for travel while Portugal has been placed on the ‘green list.’
City and Chelsea will each be provided with 6000 tickets for their fans.
Portugal’s Cabinet Affairs Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference that a set of rules had been put in place for those fans attending the final.
“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,” she said.
Vieira da Silva said that the local health authority was in charge of selecting seats for fans to ensure social distancing and that tickets were non-transferable.
Fans who travelled to Porto to enjoy the occasion without going to the stadium were not subject to the same restrictions Vieira da Silva added.
“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 as happened in Lisbon last year.”
She said the restrictions put in place were to ensure that COVID-19 rates remain low in Portugal.
The announcement will be a blow to Porto’s hotel and hospitality industry who would have been hoping to cash in on English fans enjoying a long weekend in the city.
UEFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Manchester City said on their website that the club would be “offering qualifying supporters an official day trip travel package from Manchester to Porto. Further information will be provided to supporters as soon as possible.”