The Champions League is a prestigious European contest organized annually by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA). The competition involves 32 teams from top European football teams, divided into eight groups in the first stage of the competition, known as the group stage. After playing two games each against fellow group members, the best two teams advance to the knockout stage. The Knockout stage is a two-leg affair, and the overall winner proceeds to the quarter-final, semi-finals, and finals. Now to the day’s topic, UEFA has made it a point to move the venue of finals from country to country to promote their goal of growing and securing long-term participation in European football.
How’s The Venue For The Finals Decided?
The UEFA Executive Committee decides which nation will host the respective UEFA Champions League final two years before the final. The Executive Committee comprises 20 members elected by the UEFA Congress, with no more than one member per country. The UEFA Executive Committee members eligible to have an impact on this choice must be actively serving in a country that is a member of the UEFA organization. They are typically the President, Vice-President, Chairman, or Chairman-Vice-Chairman of their respective national organizations. The following are some elements that affect that choice:
1. The stadium needs to be a Category 4 venue stadium; What’s a category four stadium? A stadium must be rated as category four to host games in the playoffs of the qualifying stage for the UEFA Champions League or any game in the main competition. Category four is also required to host any game in the main competition of the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, UEFA Nations League, or the UEFA European Championship final tournament.
2. There should be more than 8,000 seats available. Stadiums with seating capacities much beyond 60,000 have typically been used.
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2023 Finals Date And Time
It’s the 68th season of the former European club competition, which also marks the 31st season since the competition was named the UEFA Champions League. Turkey’s host country for the 2023 UEFA Champions League final, and the national stadium, Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, will do the honors. Although the exact kickoff time has not yet been determined, UEFA will likely continue to stage the game in the evening local time to facilitate international TV audiences. The expected kickoff time is 15:00 ET and 19:00 GMT. The finals will take place on the 10th of June, 2023.
Why Ataturk Olympic Stadium?
The Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is a 75,000-capacity stadium that serves as the Turkish National team’s stadium. It’s the largest capacity stadium in the country, and It was originally built for Turkey’s failed bid for the 2008 Olympic Games that were ultimately awarded to Beijing, China. It cost about US$140 million. The stadium is famous for hosting the iconic 2005 final, where Liverpool completed the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ by coming back from 3-0 down at halftime against AC Milan to win their fifth European title. The UCL final will be held in the Ataturk Olympic Stadium for the second time after the stadium was unsuccessful in hosting the 2021 Champions League final due to COVID-19 concerns in Turkey. As a result, the game had to be moved to Estadio do Dragao in Porto.