If the coronavirus situation in Europe is easing enough, fans will be able to attend mini-tournaments in the Champions League and the Europa League.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin did not rule out the chance for fans to take part in the final stages of this season’s Champions League and Europa League competitions.
European Football’s governing body announced on Wednesday that the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals of both competitions will be played in August as mini-tournaments.
The Champions League ends in Lisbon around 12-23 August with Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, and Gelsenkirchen hosting the Europa League closing stages from 10-21 August.
Currently, the plan is to hold all of the single-leg ties behind closed doors, though Ceferin told a virtual news conference that the situation remains fluid, and an improvement in the continent’s coronavirus outlook could see games being played in front of fans.
“Things are changing. I couldn’t even answer theoretically a month ago if we could play the competition, now, hopefully, we ‘re going to play it. We have not yet decided on spectators or spectators, because at the beginning of July we will assess the situation and then we will see what the situation will be. It would be incompetent for us to decide a situation in advance which is so uncertain at this moment,” he said.
UEFA’s deputy secretary-general Giorgio Marchetti said, “We don’t know whether only local fans will travel to the venue if there are no fans or even fans from various clubs. The start of the final eight of the Champions League is almost two months away. Remember two months ago what the situation was like in Europe. Things are changing, and we have to wait but, of course, we are going to decide before the draw. This draw will take place on July 10, when clubs with last-16 ties to finish in the Champions League and the Europa League will know if those matches are to be played at the original venues or on a neutral ground. We think there is still some time to understand the traveling, boarding, and quarantine situation, etc. before we need to know where they will be played.”
Ceferin added: “Certainly the clubs would prefer to play at home but we don’t have enough information to decide for now. Health and safety are first for us. But when you talk to the clubs, of course, clubs would prefer to play at home, even without spectators, rather than on a neutral ground.”