Russia stripped of Champions League Final
UEFA officially announced the Champions League Final will be played in Paris instead of St. Petersburg, following Russian attacks on Ukraine.
Several soccer tournaments meant to be held in Russia are being reconsidered due to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to enact violent attacks on the country of Ukraine.
Champions League Final moved to Paris
The Champions League Final was one such tournament. It was to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia on May 28 in a stadium which was built for the 2018 World Cup and which was financed by one of UEFS’s major sponsors, Gazprom (a Russian energy company).
UEFA made the decision to strip Russia of the tournament, moving it instead to Paris, France at Stade de France in Saint-Denis. “The UEFA Executive Committee today held an extraordinary meeting following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe,” the official UEFA statement read. In addition to the move, UEFA said Russian and Ukrainian teams as well as national teams for those countries would play all their home games in neutral territories. Spartak Moscow’s next home game in the second-tier Europa League is the only one affected so far. The decision could impact FIFA’s final call on whether to let Russia host the World Cup Qualifiers in March or not.
Russia’s response to UCL move
The Russian soccer federation (RFU) did not respond kindly. “We believe that the decision to move the venue of the Champions League final was dictated by political reasons,” said RFU president Alexander Dyukov. “The RFU has always adhered to the principle of ‘sport is out of politics,’ and thus cannot support this decision.”
“The RFU also does not support the decision to transfer any matches involving Russian teams to neutral territory as violating the sports principle and infringing on the interests of players, coaches and fans.”
More on the Russia-Ukraine conflict
UCL moves for third year in a row
This is the third year in a row that the Champions League Final has had to be moved to a different city than originally planned. The last two were relocated to Portugal due to the increase in concerns about Covid-19.
Paris was chosen as the replacement for St. Petersburg because France is currently the country holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union and because it hadn’t hosted since 2006. The decision was finalized after a meeting between UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.