FURIOUS Chelsea and Manchester City fans have slammed Uefa “clowns” after their Champions League final travel plans were plunged into chaos.
Just hours after Uefa finally confirmed 6,000 fans of each club will be able to attend the May 29 showpiece, the Portuguese Government demolished the travel plans hundreds of supporters had already made.
Both club’s supporters were told they will ONLY be allowed to travel to the final if they fly in AND out of Portugal the same day.
Chelsea season-ticket holder Dave Johnstone had to cancel trips to Istanbul and Lisbon — but now Porto is in the balance.
He said: “I know of at least 80 fans in the same position but it probably runs into the hundreds.
“It’s the supporters who are being punished.
“People like me aren’t bothered where it gets played.”
Johnstone, who follows Thomas Tuchel’s team home and away, added: “We have done our best to get cheap flights, get time off work and get the money together.”
That came as Uefa, run by Aleksander Ceferin, won a drawn-out battle to ensure the capacity for the game was raised from 10,000 to around 20,000 — with 6,000 tickets for both clubs.
Ian Cheeseman, head of the Forever Blue podcast, added: “I’m just so sorry for the Man City fans who are left in this horrible situation. It’s just not fair.”
As supporters planned their journeys, they were hit by a hammer blow struck by Portuguese Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva.
She said: “Those who come to the final of the Champions League will come and return on the same day, with a test done, in a bubble situation, on charter flights.
“There will be two fan zones and from there they will be moved to the stadium and from the stadium to the airport, being in Portugal less than 24 hours.”
Asked whether the measures also referred to fans arriving in the city earlier in the week, the minister added: “Obviously those coming by plane to be in Porto while the match is on but do not actually go the stadium will comply with the established rules and security measures will be put in place as happened in Lisbon last year.”
It was a shock development for supporters and Uefa, whose President Aleksander Ceferin had earlier hailed the outcome.
Ceferin, who met virtually with fan groups representing both teams on Wednesday, said: “After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.
“Fans have had to suffer more than twelve months without the ability to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football.
“To deprive those supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option and I am delighted that this compromise has been found.
“We accept that the decision of the British Government to place Turkey on the red list for travel was taken in good faith and in the best interests of protecting its citizens from the spread of the virus.
“But it also presented us with a major challenge in staging a final featuring two English teams.
“The difficulties of moving the final are great and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it work.”
Uefa said: “Staging the final in Istanbul would have meant none of the clubs’ domestic fans would be able to travel to the game.
“After a year of fans being locked out of stadiums, Uefa thought that everything needed to be done to ensure the supporters of the two finalist teams could attend.
“Uefa discussed moving the match to England but, despite exhaustive efforts on the part of the Football Association and the authorities, it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements.
“The Portuguese authorities and the FPF stepped in and worked quickly and seamlessly with Uefa to offer a fitting venue for the final.
“As Portugal is a green list destination for England, fans and players attending the final will not have to quarantine on their return home.”
But all those plans have been thrown up in the air, although there is no possibility of the game being switched again, to Wembley as initially planned.
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds