By Amelia Fisher-Starzynski, Istanbul, Turkey, August 30, 2019: The road to Istanbul and the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final has officially begun following this season’s group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday – as the Turkish capital city prepares to stage an exceptional celebration for European football’s showpiece event.
After a thrilling schedule of UEFA Champions League group fixtures was announced, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) underlined its excitement and readiness to host next year’s Final, which is taking place in Istanbul for the second time in the competition’s history.
World football still vividly remembers the first Istanbul final in 2005 between Liverpool F.C. and A.C. Milan, which widely considers one of the greatest UEFA Champions League Finals ever following the English side’s remarkable second half come-back.
Preparations are accelerating fast for the next year’s Final on 30 May 2020, which will again take place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Stadium.
The stadium, which is currently undergoing comprehensive redevelopment and is set for completion in March, is shaping up to be a world-class, truly modern venue that will also retain a magical atmosphere for more than 70,000 people expected to attend the match.
The choice of Istanbul to host the Final – following the decision by the UEFA Executive Committee in May 2018 – seen as a strong demonstration by UEFA of its faith in the Turkish Football Federation’s ability to stage exceptional, world-class events and adds to the country’s already significant hosting experience.
Alongside the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, Turkey has also hosted the 2009 UEFA Cup Final, the 2019 UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA U20 World Cup 2013.
Istanbul, a dynamic, cosmopolitan city, will provide teams and fans with a unique experience, seamlessly combining a rich heritage and iconic location with cutting-edge innovation and a passion and love for the game of football to deliver another incredible celebration of football.
With some of the most passionate fans in the world, whichever teams make the Final will be able to enjoy a great football city that is also one of the world’s top tourist destinations that welcomes millions of visitors every year.
Thanks to Turkey’s location – as a gateway to Asia, Africa and the Middle East – and recent significant investments in transport infrastructure, the country boasts direct flight connections to 130 countries, while more than one billion people from 53 nations are located less than four hours away.
Servet Yardımcı, Vice-President of the TFF and UEFA Executive Committee Member, said:
“We cannot wait to share the magic of Istanbul with players and fans from across Europe and beyond at the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final. With the group stage draw taking place in Monaco yesterday, the road to Istanbul is well underway and the excitement is building for an event that is truly one of the crown jewels in the European and global football calendars.
The success of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup earlier this month illustrated once again that Turkey is a country that excels at organising international tournaments and events.
“Istanbul is a true football city with some of the most passionate fans in the world and will be an exceptional host to whichever finalists qualify for the big game.
We wish all teams on the road to Istanbul the very best of luck as they compete for a place in the final and the chance to experience the incredible atmosphere at the newly redeveloped and state-of-the-art Atatürk Stadium.”
2020 UEFA Champions League Final ambassador Hamit Altintop, who made 82 international appearances for Turkey and represented Galatasaray, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, said:
“Having played in Istanbul and across Europe I am in no doubt that the city will host an unforgettable UEFA Champions League Final next year.
“An iconic, cutting-edge stadium combined with passionate, knowledgeable fans in a city with a fascinating history, rich traditions and a welcoming culture means the event will offer teams and fans an experience like no other.”
The 2020 UEFA Champions League Final identity [see below] was also unveiled by UEFA on Thursday. The design – by illustrator and Istanbul native Tolga Tarhan – is based on an abstract depiction of the city at sunset.
Inspired by the rich colours of the Istanbul sky and the vivid lights of this bustling city, the scene features iconic landmarks such as the Galata tower, the aqueduct and the bridge across the Bosphorus.
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