Barring any last-minute changes, Lisbon will host a behind-closed-doors Champions League mini-tournament in August, with dates and locations close to being finalised ahead of an announcement next week.
Frankfurt, Madrid and Moscow had been in the running to host the remaining games, after the competition was put on hold and the final (initially scheduled for 30 May) was taken away from host city Istanbul.
However, coronavirus case data in Russia made Moscow a less appealing option, while Lisbon appears to be the all-but confirmed decision, with for four mains reasons cited by AS.
One, Portugal has coped comparatively well during the outbreak of the pandemic, suffering just under 1,500 COVID-19 related deaths to date, according to official statistics.
Secondly, there are no Portuguese teams left in the competition making Lisbon a truly neutral venue.
Thirdly and fourthly are the facts that Benfica’s Estadio da Luz (home to Benfica) and the Estadio Jose Avalade (home to Sporting CP) are separated by just 2km, giving the possibility for an Olympic Village-style centralised tournament, while Portugal’s favourable ‘economic conditions’ have apparently been taken into account.
UEFA will ratify its plans for the remaining fixtures next week (17 June), with the first games – those remaining from the round of 16 – tipped to be played on the weekend of 8-9 August.
FIXTURES: Man City vs R’ Madrid (2-1 agg); Juve vs Lyon (0-1 agg); Barcelona vs Napoli (0-0 agg); B’ Munich vs Chelsea (3-0 agg).
Already qualified for the next round are:Atalanta, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and RB Leipzig.
The final eight will then start just 72 hours later, with single-leg quarter-finals kicking off on Wednesday 12 August.
The final will then reportedly take place at a practically empty 65,000-seater Estadio da Luz on 23 August, two weeks later.
Barring complications, the Premier League (which has Chelsea and Man City left in the Champions League) is scheduled to finish on 26 July, while La Liga (Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid) is aiming for a 19 July conclusion.
The German Bundesliga (Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig), which was the first to resume action and has only 18 teams will have its last game week on 27 June, while Ligue 1 (Lyon, PSG) has already decided to curtail its campaign.
Serie A (Atalanta, Juventus, Napoli) is the only domestic league with teams still in the Champions League that plans to continue playing into August, with the 1-2nd planned as the final fixture weekend in Italy.