UEFA to pick Lisbon as Champions League knockout rounds host

The Champions League final is heading to Lisbon, with UEFA planning an Aug. 23 final to cap seven broadcast nights in a 12-day span of elite European teams playing knockout soccer. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 15 June 2020

UEFA to pick Lisbon as Champions League knockout rounds host

  • UEFA’s executive committee must agree on the plan on Wednesday
  • The Europa League mini-tournament is set to be shared by four cities in western Germany

NYON: The Champions League final is heading to Lisbon, with UEFA planning an Aug. 23 final to cap seven broadcast nights in a 12-day span of elite European teams playing knockout soccer.
The widely reported UEFA wish to hold an eight-team knockout bracket in two empty stadiums in Portugal’s capital was confirmed in reports Monday by broadcaster Sky Italia.
UEFA’s executive committee must agree on the plan on Wednesday among a series of decisions to reschedule international soccer — for Europe’s clubs and national teams — after the coronavirus pandemic upended the global sports calendar.
The most prized trophy in club soccer will be decided in a rare Sunday final at Benfica’s Stadium of Light. It was originally to be on Saturday, May 30 at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, but UEFA looked elsewhere when that city was no longer practical.
Semifinals will be shared by the Stadium of Light and the nearby home stadium of Sporting Lisbon on Aug. 18-19. Four quarterfinals are planned on consecutive nights from Aug. 12-15, Sky Italia reported.
Four quarterfinals places have yet to be decided, and the UEFA executive panel must decide on Wednesday where to schedule second-leg games in the round of 16 that were postponed in March.
Those games could also go to Lisbon or be played without fans in the home stadiums of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City.
The Europa League mini-tournament is set to be shared by four cities in western Germany with Cologne hosting the final on Friday, Aug. 21. It was meant to be on Wednesday, May 27 in Gdansk, Poland.
The second-tier competition also paused at the round of 16 in March. Six first-leg games were played and two more — Inter Milan-Getafe and Roma-Sevilla — could not be played in Italy when that country was hit hard by coronavirus cases.


97 players, staff test positive for virus as KSA clubs resume training

Updated 12 July 2020

97 players, staff test positive for virus as KSA clubs resume training

  • Authorities introduce a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition

JEDDAH: Almost 100 footballers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 as Saudi football clubs resume training for the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Football League competitions.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said that 1,351 tests were carried out between June 21 and July 8, resulting in 50 players and 47 administrative staff testing positive.

Matches in the professional league are set to resume on Aug. 4 after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted all sports activities in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Pro League Association and relevant authorities have introduced a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition.

Players are encouraged to use hand sanitizers and disinfectants before and after training. Surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized around the clock, and coaching and administrative staff must wear face masks at all times.

Staff and players will have their temperatures checked at the entrance to training grounds, which will have designated entrances and exits to avoid overcrowding. Staff will also check for symptoms among players during training sessions.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, 1,351 tests were carried out between June 21 and July 8, resulting in 50 players and 47 administrative staff testing positive.

• Matches in the professional league are set to resume on Aug. 4 after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted all sports activities in the Kingdom.

• The Saudi Pro League Association and relevant authorities have introduced a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition.

Pools will remain closed, while equipment including balls, goalposts and training items, as well as training spaces used by players, will be disinfected before and after use.

Staff members older than 65 and those who suffer from chronic illness will not be allowed on the field.

The federation also decided to increase the number of substitutes during a game from three to five in line with amendments approved by the International Football Association.

Players must follow social distancing rules while training and on substitute benches and in locker rooms. Exchanging shirts and handshakes are prohibited.

Games will be played without fans.

Training resumed on June 21, 2020, in line with medical protocols and precautionary measures.