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What to expect from the venue for the 2020 Champions League final


The final of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League will be played on May 30th: fans looking for the latest betting odds should head over to SugarHouse sports betting PA in order to stay ahead of the game. But what about the venue? The top teams in the league will meet at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, which earned its place in UEFA history when it hosted the legendary 2005 final between Liverpool and AC Milan.

'The Miracle of Istanbul'

That game, on May 25th, 2005, has gone down as one of the greatest matches in Champions League history. Milan had a 3-0 lead at the end of the first half, and most thought that the Italian side had the championship in the bag. However, Liverpool bounced back and managed to equalize with three goals in just six minutes. They then won the match on penalties.

To Liverpool fans, this match has become known as 'The Miracle of Istanbul', and the Ataturk Olympic Stadium has become venerated as almost a Turkish Anfield. This means that the venue already has its place in history, and as such is well worth visiting by football fans for any reason. As far as hosting this year's final goes, even if we don't see a match of the same caliber, the Ataturk is still an extremely handsome and impressive place to watch a major game.

History

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium is a fairly new build as stadiums go, with construction having begun in 1999 and been completed in 2002. An Olympic stadium rather than one purpose-built with football in mind, it was intended to host the 2008 Olympic Games, but Turkey's bid failed and the games that year went to Beijing instead.

Costing approximately $140m, the stadium was rated as a five-star sports complex for UEFA in 2004, enabling it to host the 2005 final described above. It's also IAAF and IOC-certified as a first-class track and field venue, and has hosted several European athletic competitions. In 2010, U2 played a concert at the stadium to 54,278 fans. It is named after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey and its first president.

Facilities

The Ataturk is Turkey's largest-capacity stadium and is all-seated, with 76,092 seats. There are 134 entrances and 148 exit gates, allowing 80,000 spectators to be evacuated in 7.5 minutes if needed. Overhead are two huge steel roofs, provided by the Tekfen Steel Structure Fabrication Plant in Ceyhan, Adana, weighing 2,800 and 1,300 tons respectively. The West Roof, designed in the form of a crescent, consists of a 1,000-ton main beam, or mega-truss, supported by two 196m-span reinforced concrete shafts.

Under the West Roof is a 4,200 square meter commercial center with six floors (three below ground level). Each of the zones of the stadium has its own refreshment stalls, toilets, first aid facilities and access points, and the separators comply with the latest international safety standards. The stadium also includes a 300-seat amphitheater and 36 private view lodges equipped with TV sets, a meeting table and seating.

Home teams

Although primarily intended as an athletic stadium, the Ataturk was home to Super Lig team Istanbul BB until 2014. Galatasaray SK played home games there in the 2003-04 season while their home stadium was being renovated, and Beşiktaş used it in 2013-14 for the same reasons. Sivasspor also played some Super Lig home games at the stadium due to bad weather conditions elsewhere, and it was used for Champions League group stage matches in 2006-07. Two annex fields for warm-up and training purposes are connected directly to the stadium via a tunnel.

Location

The stadium is in the Ikitelli district on the western outskirts of Istanbul, about 20km from the city center. It has its own metro station on the blue M3 line, Olimpiyat Parki (Olympic Station). There's nowhere much to eat or drink nearby, and there are no hotels, though there are some along the O3 motorway between the stadium and Ataturk Airport. If you're just flying in for the game, then it's quicker and cheaper to go straight to the stadium from the airport rather than to go into Istanbul first.

Overall, then, the Ataturk Olympic Stadium is a world-class venue with excellent visibility and sound all round, thanks to a modern speaker system transmitting at a uniform 102 decibels. You'll have a good view wherever you sit, and for a fairly young stadium, it already has an impressive history. Liverpool fans especially will want to visit this venue if they haven't done so already.



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