LISBON, June 17 (Reuters) – Lisbon soccer lovers rejoiced on Wednesday after UEFA said the city will host the final phase of the season’s Champions League in August, with some hoping the major sporting tournament will help revive the country’s novel coronavirus-damaged economy.
“I think it’s great. It will be a success,” 69-year-old Luis Martins told Reuters as he stood outside Benfica’s stadium, one of the two Lisbon venues hosting matches. “And it’s great for the Portuguese economy too.”
This season’s Champions League was suspended in March because of the pandemic, leaving fans and players in limbo.
But European soccer’s governing body UEFA finally confirmed on Wednesday that continental season will be completed in the Portuguese capital in August with an eight-team mini-tournament.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he expected matches to be played without fans, although there was a small chance that could change.
“If I could I would already be inside the stadium,” said soccer fan Claudia Martins. “If we can go to concerts why can’t we go to a football match?”
“(But) it’s a beginning, it’s a very good thing, it will bring cash to Portugal,” the 42-year-old added.
Portugal, which has so far reported a total of 37,672 cases and 1,523 deaths from the new coronavirus, much lower than neighbouring Spain, began lifting its lockdown on May 4.
The country has been hailed as a success story in its fight against the virus, but localised outbreaks in and around Lisbon have kept cases at a worrying plateau in their hundreds per day for the past month.
As fears of a second wave of infections emerge, some soccer fans said they would rather the matches be played behind closed doors.
“I think it’s better at this stage to have no fans in the stadiums,” said 47-year-old Paulo Lopes. “I will watch it at home. Even if just on TV it is always good to know it is taking place in Portugal.” (Reporting by Catarina Demony and Miguel Pereira, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Ken Ferris)
- Tiki-Taka: 5 things to look out for in the Champions League Round of 16
- Orlando City Soccer signs four-time Premier League winner Nani
- What to watch in Europe's top soccer leagues this weekend
- The Luckiest Sports Fans, Ranked
- Buffalo among 30 finalists as host cities for new Premier Lacrosse League
- Toe Poke Daily: Tottenham's jaw-dropping switch from Premier League pitch to NFL field
- Players and Fans search for answers after Atlanta United's shock draw against newcomers FC Cincinnati
- Airtricity League wrap: A good night for Bohs, all to play for in First Division play-off
- International Champions Cup brings AS Roma, Chivas to SeatGeek Stadium in July
- Could high school football be involved with potential new Panthers training facility?
- How Birmingham landed its own professional soccer team
- Five Reasons to Make This the Year You Finally Become a Rapids Fan
- Manchester City takes down Real Madrid in front of record crowd
- A RSL player is speaking up on a worldwide issue — racism in soccer
- An RSL player is speaking up on a worldwide issue — racism in soccer
- A St. Paul superfan on devotion to soccer, excitement for Allianz Field — and how to select your supporter group
- Sports on TV, channels, radio listings for March 4-10: NBA, NHL, soccer, college basketball and more
- Tiki Taka: The day City was staggering, just staggering
- The A-League is ready to kick off with plenty of changes
- SF Preps Soccer: University, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Mission and Lowell advance to NorCal semifinals
Soccer-Lisbon's football fans over the moon as city to host Champions League have 576 words, post on www.reuters.com at June 17, 2020. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.