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Soccer - 19 Jul 2021
Istanbul in Turkey has been awarded hosting rights to the 2023 final of European soccer’s Uefa Champions League, and will hope to be able to stage the prestigious event after two aborted attempts in as many years.
The city’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium, which was confirmed as host last Friday, replacing Munich in Germany, was originally due to host the 2020 final, only for the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic to force it to be relocated to Lisbon in Portugal.
Istanbul was subsequently granted the 2021 final only for the match to be moved to Porto, also in Portugal, as Covid-19 restrictions prevented fans of the two participating English clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City, travelling to Turkey.
With Saint Petersburg in Russia now confirmed as the host of the 2022 Champions League final, Uefa will be hopeful that the impact of the pandemic will enable the subsequent edition to be held in Istanbul, which previously acted as host in 2005.
As a result of the decision to move the 2023 game to the Turkish city, Munich's Allianz Arena has now been granted hosting rights in 2025.
Wembley Stadium in London is still scheduled to host the 2024 Champions League final, with Uefa having decided not to punish the venue for various security breaches at this month's final of the European Championships between England and Italy when many fans without tickets managed to breach the perimeter and gain access.
Meanwhile, as compensation for losing hosting rights to matches at the recently-completed Euro 2020, Dublin in Ireland and Bilbao in Spain will stage the finals of the Uefa Europa League in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
Both cities had been due to stage matches at this year's championships, but were ultimately unable to guarantee that spectators would be able to attend, and they were reallocated.
Uefa said the latest awards were part of “a settlement agreement, recognising the efforts and financial investment put by the two cities in preparing for the tournament".
Bilbao will also host the 2024 Uefa Women’s Champions League final.