English Soccer Fans ‘Party In Porto’ Ahead Of Chelsea-Manchester City Match
Large crowds of English fans took over Porto’s riverside area today, Saturday, May, 29, to drink and chant team slogans ahead of the much anticipated Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City.
Around eager 16,500 fans will be allowed into the stadium when the match kicks off at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) with many others travelling to support their teams from the sidelines. Dozens of packed planes from the UK touched down at the city’s airport on Saturday morning with fans having to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival at the airport.
The fans, singing loudly and holding plastic cups of beer, were very largely maskless and did not socially distance, much to the annoyance of some locals. The law in Portugal still states masks are still mandatory outside if people cannot observe social distancing.
Ines Andrade, a 19-year-old student from Porto, was visibly upset as she watched the scenes from nearby, saying it was “revolting” to see how fans were behaving, just four months after Portugal faced its toughest battle against COVID-19.
“For us, Portuguese is it very disturbing to see these people come here and ruin everything we have tried to achieve over the last months and year.”
Portugal is on the British government’s “green” list allowing tourists to visit the country without quarantining on their return but there has been concern the relaxation of rules could spark fresh covid outbreaks.
As planes arrived, stewards directed fans of the two teams to opposite sides of the airport, where rows of buses waited to drive them to the city centre, where fan zones had been set up each of the fan zones have a capacity for 6,000 people each.
Before getting on the bus, fans were given a yellow bracelet to show they had tested negative for COVID-19. “Hopefully that plane is bouncing on the way back,” said Manchester City fan Neal, who travelled to Porto with his father. It’s a great atmosphere.”
From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the fan zones were open to ticket holders, who will then be transported to the stadium. The zones will open to those without a ticket after 6 p.m., with the match shown on big screens- music blasted through the speakers at the Chelsea fan zone.
“Anyone here had a (COVID-19) test done so this is probably the safest place to be in the world,” said another fan, who was sitting near a bar with friends.
There were minor scuffles as hundreds of maskless fans flooded bars by the river on Friday night. “We will enjoy the sunshine, the hospitality- we love this city,” said Chelsea fan Chris, who said he had received his two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
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