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Both legs of Chelsea’s Champions League quarterfinal against FC Porto moved to neutral venue

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Football in a pandemic continues

Chelsea v Sheffield United - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Both legs of Chelsea’s Champions League quarterfinal tie against Porto will be played in Seville, at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, UEFA have confirmed this morning, as the sport and competition continues to deal with the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions around Europe. We have very good recent memories of this stadium, with Olivier Giroud putting up a four-spot against Sevilla in the group stages.

While Portugal was recently removed from the UK’s “red list”, which mandates a 10-day quarantine upon return, the UK remains part of Portugal’s travel ban, with no inbound flights allowed from the UK and a 14-day quarantine required for any arrival. Logistically, this would’ve made it impossible for either side to travel between the two countries — unlike in the Round of 16, when Atlético were still able to travel to England but Chelsea were unable to travel to Spain, and so only the first leg was held at a neutral venue, in Bucharest, Romania.

As we’ve seen in other instances, including Chelsea’s Women’s Champions League quarterfinal against Wolfsburg with both legs taking place in Budapest, the away goals rule remains in effect even though the tie is being played entirely on neutral ground. Next week’s game, on Wednesday, April 7, will the be Porto’s “home” game, while the game on Tuesday, April 13, will be Chelsea’s “home” game. As is always the case, this would give Porto an extra 30 minutes to score an away goal in the second leg, should extra time be needed, but that’s just how the away goals rule works.

Ours is the only quarterfinal tie moved at this time, after both Liverpool (vs. RB Leipzig) and Manchester City (vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach) played their Round of 16 matchups at neutral venues (all in Budapest).