Champions League not under threat despite coronavirus surge in Lisbon, says UEFA chief Ceferin

European football’s top club competition is due to be completed with a mini-tournament in August, however the host city has seen a spike in cases

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says there is no threat of the revamped and rescheduled conclusion to the 2019-20 Champions League being called off because of coronavirus.

The pandemic caused the top European club football competition to be suspended in March, and there are now plans to finish it with a mini-tournament in Lisbon this August.

However it has been announced that from Wednesday this week, 19 neighbourhoods in the north of the Portuguese capital will be put back under strict lockdown rules, limiting gatherings to just five people.

Ceferin has moved to allay fears, and said he spoke to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and the national football federation’s president Fernando Gomes via video call on Tuesday about the situation.

A statement from Ceferin read: “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.

“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.”

The plan is to have all quarter- and semi-final matches, as well as the showpiece, played over a single fixture in Lisbon, rather than the two-legged affairs played at the respective home grounds of the clubs involved in the matches up to the final.

The tournament is scheduled to commence on August 12, with the final 11 days later. Matches will be split between Benfica‘s Stadium of Light and Sporting Lisbon’s Estadio Jose Alvalade.

When the Champions League came to an enforced halt in March, only half of the last-16 ties had produced winners. Paris Saint-Germain, Atalanta, Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig have booked their places in the quarter-finals by overcoming Borussia Dortmund, Valencia, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.

In the other round of 16 ties, Manchester City won 2-1 at Real Madrid in their first leg match, Bayern Munich had beaten Chelsea 3-0 away, Lyon led Juventus 1-0 after their game in France, whule Napoli and Barcelona were level at 1-1.

The second legs of those fixtures are scheduled for August 7 and 8, although their venues have yet to be officially confirmed.

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