Football

Uefa confirms ‘Final 8’ plan for Champions League in Lisbon in August

This season's Champions League, suspended since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be completed in a "Final Eight" mini tournament in Lisbon in August, Uefa said yesterday.

Europe's top club competition will be decided by a series of one-off matches beginning in the Portuguese capital on Aug 12, with the final on Aug 23, European football's governing body confirmed.

Similarly, the Europa League will be completed with a "Final Eight" across four German cities including Cologne, with the final there on Aug 21. The closing stages of the women's Champions League will go ahead in Bilbao and San Sebastian at the end of that month.

The men's Champions League final was initially due to be played in Istanbul at the end of May before the coronavirus crisis took hold. The Turkish city will now host the 2021 final instead.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals are usually held over two legs, home and away, but will now be played as single ties, with games in the last eight on Aug 12 to 15 and the semi-finals on Aug 18 and 19.

Uefa said all matches would be split between Benfica's Estadio da Luz home, and the nearby Estadio Jose Alvalade, home of Sporting Lisbon.

Portugal's credentials to host a Champions League mini-tournament were boosted by the fact that it has not been as badly hit by the pandemic as other western European countries, and it has no clubs left in the competition.

There are still four Champions League last 16, second legs to be completed, and it is possible those games, which will be on Aug 7/8, could also be moved to the northern Portuguese cities of Porto and Guimaraes.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said no decision would be made on whether to let spectators in "until mid-July".

"If I would answer today then we don't think we could have spectators, but things are changing rapidly," Ceferin said in a video conference. - AFP

Football