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UEFA confirms Champions League 2019/2020 restart date and format change



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UEFA have officially confirmed that the 2019/2020 Champions League campaign will resume on August 7. The Europe’s premier competition was temporarily suspended on March 11 amid the coronavirus pandemic and that meant that the second legs of the round of 16 stage were left incomplete. While Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta BC and RB Leipzig booked their places in the final eight of the competition, the outer four teams have yet to be decided as their second leg contests were postponed because of the COVID-19 threat. As per UEFA, the second legs of those round of 16 ties will either be played at the home team’s stadium or in Portugal (homeground of Porto or Guimaraes) depending on the circumstances. The remaining last 16 games will be scheduled on either August 7 or 8. Second leg of round of 16 – August 7/8 Manchester City vs Real Madrid (2-1 lead after the first leg on the road) Bayern Munich vs Chelsea (3-0) Juventus vs Lyon (0-1) Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1) Due to the extended delay because of the pandemic, UEFA have decided to shorten the competition format from the quarter-final stage. The games will be played in a knockout format with a single leg, contested in either the home stadium of Benfica or Sporting – both of which are located in Lisbon. The quarter finals are expected to be played between August 12 and 15 while August 18 and 19 have been confirmed as the semi-final dates. The final of the competition will be held on August 23. The exact match schedule will be revealed following the draws for the quarter-final and semi-final stages. Schedule from the quarter-final phase (All games in Lisbon): 12-15 August: Quarter-finals 18-19 August: Semi-finals 23 August: Final The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul was originally expected to host this season’s Champions League final, but the location has now been shifted to Lisbon. As a result, they are now expected to stage next season’s showpiece. In turn, the final venues for the next three campaigns have been pushed a year later than originally planned. Future Champions League final venues: 2020: Final in Lisbon 2021: Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey 2022: Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia 2023: Football Arena Munich, Munich, Germany 2024: Wembley Stadium, London, England The International Football Association Board approved FIFA’s temporary proposal for five substitutions earlier in May and that has already been accepted by the respective domestic leagues. UEFA have confirmed that they will go with the rule change for the rest of the European campaign. Elsewhere, clubs remaining in the competition are permitted to make changes to the 25-man squad registered for the knockout stage. Up to three new players can be added to the squad, but they must have been eligible to play for their respective teams before the previous registration deadline for European games (February 3).