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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

London gears up for four-day Uefa Champions League Festival ahead of Wembley final

A four-day festival to accompany the UEFA Champions League final will be “the start of an incredible sporting summer for London”, Sadiq Khan has promised.

The Mayor on Tuesday unveiled details for the “family-friendly” celebration in the run-up to Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at Wembley on Saturday, June 1, with events planned across five central London locations.

Festivities will kick off on Thursday, 30 May, in Trafalgar Square as the Champions League trophy is welcomed to London before the square is filled with inflatable football activities, a five-aside mini pitch and food stalls.

This will be followed by a headline performance from Hackney’s Rudimental on Friday, 31 May, with the show powered by the movement of dancing fans through a “kinetic dancefloor”. The night will culminate in a DJ set by Faithless.

Regent Street will be pedestrianised between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus for the last two days of May to enable penalty shootout challenges and other activities, while Champions League legends from around the globe will be at Somerset House showcasing their skills in a five-a-side tournament.

At Potters Fields Park, by Tower Bridge, a giant inflatable Uefa Champions League trophy will greet visitors, with interactive installations and activities continuing along the South Bank.

It is hoped the festival, which ends on 2 June, will attract many Londoners as well as the tens of thousands of travelling fans for the two teams.

Mr Khan said: “London is the sporting capital of the world and so it’s fitting that we are hosting the Uefa Champions League final. I am proud that Europe’s biggest match will take place in London and delighted that thousands of Londoners and visitors will be able to experience the thrill of this special competition through the Uefa Champions Festival. This is the start of an incredible sporting summer for London and a key part of our work to build a better London for everyone.”

Transport for London has advised travellers that public transport is likely to be very busy on Saturday, 1 June, particularly the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines. The Metropolitan Police have meanwhile said they will be working closely with Uefa, the FA, Wembley Stadium, local authorities and other emergency services, to ensure the safety of fans and festival-goers.

Uefa’s general secretary, Theodore Theodoridis, said: “Festival-goers will enjoy a wide array of family-friendly entertainment, creating memories that will last a lifetime ahead of what is sure to be another epic encounter at the iconic Wembley Stadium.”

Sports minister Stuart Andrew MP said the final would be “a special moment in the sporting calendar, and I am delighted Wembley is playing host to Europe’s premier club football teams”.

Other sporting events heading here this summer include Major League Baseball, Diamond League athletics, and NFL football, while London hopes to reap some of the benefits from the Olympics being staged in Paris.

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