Uefa confirm Champions League will end with World Cup knockout-style tournament in Lisbon in August

UEFA has confirmed the Champions League will be completed in a 12-day last eight mini-tournament held in Lisbon in August.

And European football bosses still hope that fans can be allowed in the stadiums to give some atmosphere.

The Champions League is set to resume on August 7

But Manchester City will not know until next month whether their last 16 tie with Real Madrid will be completed at the Etihad or in Portugal.

European bosses also agreed that the Europa League will be played to a finish under a similar format in Germany.

And Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin revealed that all issues over the postponed Euro 2020 tournament had been resolved with the matches played in the 12 scheduled cities across the tournament next summer.

But Uefa risks a backlash from its biggest clubs after agreeing that a total of EIGHT international matches can be played in the autumn, with the expanded League of Nations part of triple-header blocks in October and November.

And that will see Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic playing their Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals in October with the last four slots in the tournament claimed the following month.

The decisions on the conclusion of this season’s club competitions had been expected, with the Champions League played as a series of one-off ties in the Portuguese capital from August 12 and the Final in the Stadium of Light on August 23.

The Europa League ties will be played in Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen between August 10 and 21, with the final in Cologne.

City will be angry if they cannot have any home advantage after beating Real 2-1 in the Bernabeu back in March.

But it appears the Government will have to drop its current 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK by the middle of next month for them to get the green light.

Ceferin explained: “For sure the clubs would prefer to play at home but we don’t have enough information to decide.

“Health and security must come first and we need to know the situation about travelling, borders and quarantine.

“When you speak to the clubs, of course they would prefer to play at home, even without crowds, rather than at neutral grounds.”

Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin pictured at Wednesday’s Exectuive Committee meeting

Uefa deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said a final decision would be made by July 10, ahead of the last eight draw.

That will also be when Uefa confirms if fans will be allowed in the grounds.

Ceferin added: “If we had to decide now, we would have to say without fans.

“But the situation is changing every day. It is two months until August – remember what the situation was in Europe two months ago.

“Things are changing. It may be no fans, local fans or the fans of the different clubs travelling. We have to wait but decide before the draw.”

If the last 16 ties have to be moved to Portugal, over the weekend of August 8, last summer’s Nations League finals stadia in Porto and Guimaraes will be used in addition to the homes of Benfica and Sporting.

England, who have not played since the 4-0 win in Kosovo in November, are due to face Iceland, Denmark and Belgium with the opener expected to be played in Reykjavik on September 5.

Gareth Southgate’s men will then move on to Copenhagen three days later.

But the matches are set to mean Prem players will lose the majority of their squads until just three days before the planned start of next term on September 12.

That will be an issue for the Prem but a signal of Uefa’s determination to get the football calendar back on track.

The initial stages of next season’s European competitions, played in September, will be one-off ties with the exception of the final play-off round for the Champions League which will still be played over two legs.

Next season’s group stage draw will be switched from its normal home of Monaco in August to Athens on October 2, with matches starting on October 20.

But the one-off format switch means Wembley’s planned “centenary” Champions League Final in 2023 will not take place as planned.

Uefa confirmed Istanbul, due to host this season’s Final, will now stage the game in 2021, with the following three pre-announced venues – St Petersburg, Munich and Wembley – all having to wait an extra 12 months.

Pep Guardiola’s side will have to wait to find out whether they will face Real Madrid at home or away




By: Martin Lipton
Title: Uefa confirm Champions League will end with World Cup knockout-style tournament in Lisbon in August
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Published Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2020 14:16:07 +0000

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