Champions League returns in August, 'Final 8' tournament set for Lisbon
The 2019-20 Champions League season will transition to a knockout tournament from the quarterfinal stage onward and run from Aug. 12 to 23 in Lisbon, UEFA announced Wednesday.
Before that, the four remaining fixtures in the round of 16, which were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will take place on Aug. 7 and 8. It's yet to be determined whether those games - all second-leg fixtures - will be played at the home teams' stadiums or in Portugal.
Istanbul, which was supposed to host this year's Champions League final, will now stage the showpiece event in 2021.
The Europa League will also switch to a single-elimination format from the quarterfinal stage onward. Games will take place within the same region in Germany from Aug. 10 to 21. The final has been moved from Gdansk, Poland, to Cologne.
Second-leg fixtures that have yet to be completed in the round of 16 will be played on Aug. 5 and 6. Teams that haven't contested the first leg of their last-16 encounters will now play just one match to determine who advances.
Finally, the Women's Champions League will relocate to San Sebastian and Bilbao in Spain, where all remaining matches will be played from Aug. 21 to 30 in a knockout tournament.
Teams in all three competitions will have the opportunity to register three new players, so long as they were already with the club during the 2019-20 season. Squads will remain capped at 25 players.
Following FIFA's recommendation, UEFA will allow clubs to use five substitutions throughout the remainder of the campaign.
Half of the Champions League's last-16 ties reached a conclusion before play was suspended in March. Atalanta, RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain, and Atletico Madrid all advanced and will head straight to Lisbon for the knockout tournament.
The four outstanding Champions League fixtures include some heavy hitters: Manchester City hold a 2-1 aggregate lead over Real Madrid, Barcelona are tied 1-1 with Napoli, Bayern Munich have a 3-0 advantage over Chelsea, and Lyon lead Juventus 1-0.
It was reported Tuesday that Lyon will travel to Turin to face Juventus for the second leg of their last-16 tie. City, Barcelona, and Bayern could then also be in line to host their return fixtures as previously scheduled.
None of the games are expected to have fans in attendance.
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