Champions League to be completed with eight-team tournament in Lisbon
By Brian Homewood
BERN (Reuters) - This season's Champions League, which was suspended in March due to the COVID 19 pandemic, will end with an eight-team mini-tournament to be held in Lisbon in August, the European football association UEFA said on Wednesday.
The quarter-finals and the semi-finals will be played on one instead of the usual two stages. The final will take place on August 23, UEFA's Deputy General Secretary Giorgio Marchetti said at a video conference after a meeting of the Executive Committee.
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The four round of 16 games still to be played in the round of 16 - Manchester City against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich against Chelsea, Juventus against Olympique Lyonnais and Barcelona against Napoli - will take place on 7-8. August instead of the originally planned 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 games without fans, even though there was a small chance that could change.
"We don't think we can have viewers, but things are changing quickly and we will assess the situation in early January." He told a video press conference.
"A month ago, I couldn't even say if we could play the competition."
He added that there is no Plan B in case the public health situation in Portugal worsens, although UEFA monitors the situation on a daily basis.
The plan provides for a faster end to the season than the traditional two-legged home and away format.
Istanbul, where the 2020 final was scheduled to take place, will now host the 2021 edition instead. All other planned hosts - St. Petersburg, Munich and London - are pulling back a year, UEFA said.
A similar format is used to decide the Europa League competition in Germany from August 10th to 21st with games in Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen and Cologne where the final will take place.
The Women's Champions League will be held as a mini-tournament with eight teams in the Spanish cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian with the final on August 30th.
(Written by Brian Homewood; Editing by Alex Richardson and Christian Radnedge)
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