UEFA to move Champions League final from St Petersburg after Russia invades Ukraine - ednews.net

17 August, Wednesday

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UEFA to move Champions League final from St Petersburg after Russia invades Ukraine

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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has called an extraordinary meeting for Friday following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
 
Contingency plans are being drawn up over where to host this season’s Champions League final, which had been awarded to Russia.
 
The final is scheduled to take place in St Petersburg’s 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena on May 28 but Russia’s attack looks likely to force a change of venue.
 
European football’s governing body is monitoring the situation and said it will ‘take all necessary decisions’ after Friday’s meeting.
 
A UEFA statement said: ‘Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine in the last 24 hours, the UEFA president has decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee for Friday 25 February at 1000 CET (0900 GMT), in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions.
 
‘Further communication will be made after the meeting of the UEFA executive committee.’
 
Football Supporters Europe had called for an ‘imminent announcement’ over arrangements for the showpiece game.
 
‘On this tragic day, our thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine, our friends, colleagues, members, & their loved ones,’ an FSE statement on Twitter read.
 
‘Given the events unfolding, we expect an imminent announcement from UEFA on the relocation of the Champions League final from St Petersburg.’
 
After changing the venue for the final for the 2020 and 2021 editions due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA could be forced into a further switch, but may wait until the latter stages of the competition to see which sides remain in the tournament.
 
If another all-English final was to occur, like last year’s between Chelsea and Manchester City, there would be pressure to host it in the UK but two major stadiums are already out of bounds.
 
Wembley is set to host the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on May 28 while the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is primed to stage rugby league’s Betfred Challenge Cup final on the same day.
 
It may open the door to another venue in England’s capital, West Ham’s London Stadium, which would have space in its summer schedule.
 
London Stadium chief executive Graham Gilmore told the Telegraph: ‘We have a great history of putting on world-class events from Major League Baseball to sold-out concerts and of course Premier League matches.
 
‘We are always happy to hear from event holders, and there is a clear track record of the stadium and London hosting the biggest events brilliantly.’
 
Holders Chelsea, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all in the last 16 of the Champions League.
 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week told the House of Commons Russia should have “no chance of holding football tournaments”.

 

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