UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin has stated that the Champions League will continue in Portugal as planned, despite a Covid-19 spike in Lisbon that could derail the elite club football competition.
Portugal was chosen as the destination to stage the conclusion of the Champions League in August, with the major competition having been postponed since March due to Covid-19.
However, from July 1st, a setback has seen 19 neighbourhoods north of Portugal’s host city Lisbon going back into lockdown, with gatherings limited to just five people.
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa held discussions with Čeferin, as well as Portuguese Football Federation (PFF) President Fernando Gomes via video call on June 30th before the mini-tournament gets underway in August.
“I would like to thank the Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa for his dedication to this project and the work he is doing alongside the Portuguese Football Federation to ensure that Portugal delivers a successful tournament,” Čeferin said in a statement.
“I am confident that with the continued and constant collaboration between all stakeholders, we will conclude the season in a positive way in Lisbon. There is no need for a ‘Plan B’.”
At this stage, the Champions League restart will take place as planned on the following dates, as single-leg knockout ties will decide this year’s winner:
August 7-8: Round of 16 second legs
August 12-15: Quarter-finals (Lisbon)
August 18-19: Semi-finals (Lisbon)
August 23: Final (Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon)
Champions League ties from the quarter-finals onwards will be split between Benfica’s Stadium of Light and Sporting Lisbon’s Estádio José Alvalade.
The final-eight part of the tournament will begin from August 12, with some fixtures still to be decided. Half of the round of 16 ties have been completed – Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, RB Leipzig and Atalanta made it through to the quarter-finals.
The round of 16 second legs yet to be played are Juventus vs Lyon (0-1), Manchester City vs Real Madrid (2-1), Bayern vs Chelsea (3-0) and Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1). Venues for the remaining Round of 16 contests have not been confirmed yet.