Last month, Istanbul was reported to be given a hosting right for UEFA Super Cup 2021 as a compensation for their misfortune of missing out staging UEFA Champions League final two seasons in a row due to the rise of covid-19 contraction in Turkey. Those finals were eventually moved to Portugal.
However, the Turkish' hope to finally see the important European matches on their home soil has not come to reality yet, at least not this time during the ongoing world pandemic. Such is believed to be the main reason for UEFA's decision on sticking to the initial host, Windsor Park, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports, Mehmet Kasapoglu made a statement to one of the local press, Goal Turkey.
"We had completed all our preparations for this competition and made our plans. We would like a final with enthusiastic fans in the stands, but it was not possible under pandemic conditions."
Another reason is said to be related to the surprising result of this year's Europa League final, when Villareal won over Manchester United by penalties. Should The Red Devils have clinched the title, a more thrilling encounter against The Blues or the Manchester Derby would have been assured and a move would have been well considered by the European football governing body.
Meanwhile, for the fans in Belfast, UEFA's recent confirmation on staging the Super Cup 2021 in Northern Ireland has been certainly exciting. The meeting between Champions League and Europa League winner, Chelsea and Villareal, are set to be held on August, 11. It will be the first time for Windsor Park to host such big game. The stadium was first built in 1903 and opened for public two years later. The homebase of Linfield FC has the capacity of 22,000 people and also become the national home venue for Northern Ireland national team.
UEFA Super Cup itself has been played since 1972. Previously, such match was held in a home and away format till 1998. Then, a single game replaced the two-legged format with Stade Louis II in Monaco staging the match up to 2012. Since 2013, UEFA has opted to contest it across Europe in turn annually.