Estádio do Dragão, Porto. Photo: FC Porto

British fans breach Champions League bubble and arrive early in Porto

Hundreds of British football fans are already in Portugal to see the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea which will be played in Porto on Saturday (May 29) despite the initial announcement that all attending fans would be “kept inside a bubble” and arrive and leave on the same day (click here).

As TVI points out, “the presence of thousands of foreigners is good for hotels and restaurants but contradicts the government’s narrative of a safety ‘bubble’”.
One Brit arriving at Porto Airport told the television station that “if you want to travel with the club, it’s a day-trip. If you don’t want to travel with the club, you can do what you want.”

Many of the arriving fans do not even have a ticket and are happy to be simply enjoying some time off in Portugal.

“I’ve come for the game, but if I can’t get in the game, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’ll watch it somewhere, enjoy the country and the sun,” said another fan.

Business owners in Porto have noted a small increase in activity and are happy to see Portugal’s tourism sector slowly recover, TVI reported, while mayor Rui Moreira said that the city should be “happy” to welcome holidaymakers again.

“By increasing the fluctuating population of the city, we know we face a few risks, we don’t ignore that. But don’t we want to have tourists here in the summer? We do,” he said.

The final will be played on Saturday at 8pm in front of a crowd of 16,500 people.

Brits brawl in Albufeira
Meanwhile, some Brits who are planning to attend the final have stopped off in the Algarve first before travelling up to Porto, reports Expresso newspaper.

There were even reports of clashes between fans of Manchester City and Manchester United at Albufeira’s popular bar district Oura last night at a time when Manchester United fans were watching the Europa League final between their club and Villarreal.

Adds Expresso, the confrontations had to be broken up by GNR police.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com