Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic
The winners of this season’s Champions League final won’t have to drag themselves up a flight of stairs to collect their prize following 90 gruelling minutes on the pitch.
UEFA has scrapped the tradition of going into the stands to celebrate a title in favour of presenting trophies on the pitch, the European governing body announced Wednesday.
The change will be implemented beginning with this season’s continental finals, so the winners of the UEFA Champions League, Women’s Champions League, and Europa League will receive their trophies on the pitch. The move is intended to enhance the viewing pleasure of fans both inside the stadiums and watching around the world.
“The pitch is the players’ stage and it is only fitting that their achievements are celebrated there,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said. “It also makes sense that the officials should come down from the stands to the players – to their arena – and pay tribute to them in presenting the trophy and medals on the playing surface.
“Players will also be able to celebrate with their teammates on the pitch in full view of the fans without the interruption of having to climb up to the stands. Furthermore, all supporters will get a perfect view of the trophy lift wherever they are seated in the stadium.”
The new regulation will be standard practice for national-team competitions, including the European Championship, as well.
Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain will do battle in the women’s final on June 1 at the Cardiff City Stadium, while Real Madrid will look to become the first team in almost 30 years to defend its European title when the Spanish side clashes with Juventus on June 3. Manchester United faces Ajax in the Europa League decider May 24.
There are purpose-built stages for all three events that UEFA says can be assembled in under five minutes.