May 19 (Sky News) – Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour has announced he will personally cover the costs of the official fans’ trip to the Champions League final.
The Abu Dhabi-based royal will pay the flights and transfer costs for “several thousand” people, the club said.
City and Chelsea are each allowed to take 6,000 fans to Porto for the all-Premier League final on 29 May – taking place weeks after the blue side of Manchester reclaimed the domestic league title from Liverpool.
City supporters on the official trip will, however, have to complete the journey home within 24 hours of the final and meet additional costs for COVID-19 tests, while remaining in a bubble during their stay.
The fixture was due to take place at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, but pressure mounted for the venue to be changed after the UK government placed Turkey on its ‘red list’ of at-risk countries and urged fans not to travel for the fixture.
Porto was selected despite suggestions the game could be moved to Wembley amid sticking points over waiving quarantine rules for the 2,000 staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media.
Sheikh Mansour said: “Pep and the team have had such a remarkable season and their reaching the Champions League final after a very challenging year represents a truly historic moment for the club.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak added: “The challenges faced by supporters ahead of this final are multiple, both in financial and logistical terms.
“Hopefully His Highness’ initiative allows the majority of our attending fans to focus on enjoying the day rather than worrying about how to bear the burden of travel costs which have become all the more onerous due to the effects of the pandemic.”