The last-minute decision to relax the Covid-19 safety rules for Saturday’s Champions League final has infuriated locals as hundreds of English fans without masks filled Porto’s riverside bars on Friday. the night.
European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, moved the final between English clubs Manchester City and Chelsea from Istanbul to Porto to allow fans to travel to the match under Covid-19 restrictions. Some Porto residents fear an increase in infections due to the spread of the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus in parts of England after it was first identified in India. Others resent that foreign fans can enter the stadium, but locals have been banned from attending matches for months.
“If they open [the stadiums] for the english they should open [them] for everyone, ”said Alexandre Magalhaes, walking through Porto, which was full of fans.
The Portuguese government initially said that English fans should fly only on match day, stay in a “bubble” and fly home immediately after the game. But authorities removed the requirement that fans stay in bubbles on Thursday and lifted movement restrictions. “If these [new rules] they are true, I will not comply with any more blocks, “wrote a Twitter user. Another wrote: “It is a disgrace to all who continue to meet health standards.”
Portugal imposed a lockdown in January after an increase in cases, but the rules have since been relaxed. About 16,500 fans will be allowed into the stadium. Many others have come to support their teams abroad.
Hundreds of maskless fans flooded the bars along Porto’s Douro River on Friday night, drinking beer and chanting team slogans while police officers kept a close eye on them. There were small fights between the followers. Although fans violated current coronavirus rules to reduce the risk of contagion, which require wearing a mask in crowded areas, police officers on the ground did not enforce wearing the mask.
Police Commander Paula Peneda told a news conference that authorities were expecting many English fans without a ticket in the city on Saturday, but could not specify a number. Authorities said they couldn’t stop fans from moving because British tourists can now enter and leave Portugal if they present a negative PCR test.
Metropolitan Police Superintendent Lysander Strong said two fan zones with capacity for 6,000 people each would be established in the city, one for both teams. From 8 a. M. At 6 p. M., The fan zones will only be open to ticket holders who will then be transported to the stadium. The zones will be opened for those who do not have a ticket. Beer is allowed and all fans must submit a negative Covid-19 test to access the fan zones. “We encourage all English fans here to contribute to an orderly environment,” Strong said.
Porto Mayor Rui Moreira said the city was ready for the final despite having only had two weeks to prepare. “The Portuguese adapt … We are quite efficient at improvising,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism