BERN (Reuters) – This season’s Champions League, suspended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be completed with an eight-team mini-tournament which will be held in Lisbon in August, European soccer’s governing body UEFA said on Wednesday.
The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be staged over one leg, instead of the usual two, with the final to be held on Aug. 23, UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said after an executive committee meeting held by video conference.
The four last-16, second leg matches which still have to be played — Manchester City v Real Madrid, Bayern Munich v Chelsea, Juventus v Olympique Lyonnais and Barcelona v Napoli — will take place on Aug. 7/8, either at the originally scheduled venues or in Portugal.
Paris St Germain, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and RB Leipzig have already qualified for the quarter-finals.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he expected matches to be played without fans, although there was a small chance that could change.
“We don’t think we can have spectators but things are changing rapidly and we will assess the situation at the beginning of January.” he told a video news conference.
“One month ago, I couldn’t even say if we could play the competition.”
He added there was no plan B in case the public health situation in Portugal worsened although UEFA was monitoring the situation daily.
The plan allows for a quicker completion of the season than the traditional two-legged home and away format.
Istanbul, which was due to host the 2020 final, will now instead be the venue for the 2021 edition, with all other scheduled hosts — St Petersburg, Munich and London — moving back a year, UEFA said.
A similar format will be used to decide the Europa League competition in Germany from Aug. 10 to Aug. 21. with matches in Duisburg, Duesseldorf, Gelsenkirchen and Cologne, which will host the final.
The women’s Champions League will be staged as an eight-team mini-tournament in the Spanish cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian with the final on Aug. 30.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Alex Richardson and Christian Radnedge)