UEFA “strongly recommends” Chelsea and Manchester City supporters go on official club trips to Porto for the Champions League final, but fans with tickets will be allowed in even if they have travelled independently.
Six thousand tickets have been issued for sale to each of the finalists for the match on May 29 at the Estadio do Dragao.
Manchester City announced on Tuesday that club owner Sheikh Mansour would cover the cost of flights and transfers for all City supporters booked onto the official club travel package, which does not involve an overnight stay in Portugal.
The club’s statement said the “majority” of supporters would be in and out within 24 hours, with fans flying into Portugal, being transferred to a fan meeting point, on to the stadium and then back to the airport for the flights back to the UK.
UEFA issued its own statement on Wednesday which read: “With regards to the travelling of fans with tickets from the allocation of the two finalists, UEFA, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), and the Portuguese authorities strongly recommend organised travel by both clubs for as many as possible.”
It is understood though that supporters who travel independently to Portugal but have a valid ticket will not be turned away at the stadium, with quarantine-free travel between the UK and Portugal now possible. The 24-hour round trip option is designed to lessen the impact on Porto as the host city.
Portugal is on the Government’s ‘green list’ for travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, and is welcoming UK tourists who have had a recent negative test, have recovered from the virus and therefore have antibodies, or had both doses of a vaccine.
Porto was confirmed as the host for the match last Thursday. UEFA opted to switch the match from Istanbul after the British Government’s decision to put Turkey on its ‘red list’ meant fans would have been unable to travel.
Wembley had been in contention to stage the match but the British Government was unable to agree to quarantine-free travel for sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters.
City manager Pep Guardiola welcomed Sheikh Mansour’s move to financially support the fans’ trip to Portugal, and told the club’s official website: “Congratulations to Sheikh Mansour for this incredible and top-class gesture. To do this on behalf of our people is incredible.
“Thank you so, so much on behalf of all the team.”