UEFA have informed the eight Champions League quarter finalists that they are planning to have at least 9,000 fans in attendance for the competition’s final in May.
A handful of group stage matches aside, the Champions League has been played entirely behind closed doors since the coronavirus pandemic halted football in March 2020.
Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium was supposed to host the 2019/20 final, but due to Covid-19, the competition was instead concluded in an empty Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium will now host this season’s showpiece event, and although the 2020/21 tournament has continued to be disrupted by the pandemic – with a number of matches forced to be played at neutral venues due to travel restrictions – the Daily Mail report that UEFA are ‘increasingly optimistic’ about the possibility of fans making the final, albeit in a reduced capacity.
The quarter finalists have each been told that at least 9,000 fans should be able to attend, with the ticket allocation split between the two finalists.
UEFA plan to combat both the spread of Covid at the ground and ticket touting by issuing non-transferable smart tickets to fans via mobile phones.
The Ataturk’s capacity is 75,415, and UEFA are holding out hope that the attendance could reach 30 or 50 per cent. However, final decisions over the capacity and whether international fans will be permitted to travel to the game ultimately lies with the Turkish government.
Although it is unlikely that supporters will be allowed to attend the quarter final and semi final stages, with European travel pencilled in for a gradual return in mid-May, this could open up the possibility of a limited number of spectators making it to Istanbul for the final at the end of the month.