Where will 21/22 Champions League final be held? City and stadium
The successor to Chelsea as Champions of Europe will be decided on Saturday 28 May 2022, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine has seen a change of venue.
Way back in September of 2019, UEFA initially announced that Saint Petersburg's Gazprom Arena, Munich's Allianz Arena and London's Wembley would be the Champions League final venues from 2021 to 2023. But they, like the rest of us, were completely unaware of the globe changing events that were about to take place...
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Covid and Putin impact Champions League finals
First came the covid-19 pandemic, which put that proposal on the back-burner as the 2020 final was immediately impacted. That one was originally scheduled to be staged in Istanbul but was moved to Lisbon with UEFA organizing the final stage of the competition in a special 'bubble' edition in the Portuguese capital after the pandemic played havoc with domestic and continental football schedules.
German side Bayern Munich ultimately won the final at the Estadio da Luz with a solitary goal enough to see off Paris Saint-Germain. With Istanbul's Attaturk stadium losing out in 2020, the Turkish ground was earmarked to hold the 2021 final. However, optimistic views on the end to the pandemic didn't prove accurate.
Once again, UEFA's final planning was dealt a blow with a surge in positive covid cases in Turkey in the lead up to it forcing the government to declare a state of alarm and introduce a lockdown that would have complicated the travel plans for the participating teams (Chelsea and Manchester City), as well as club employees and fans. The final ultimately returned to Portugal with a reduced 15,000 fans witnessing Chelsea claim the trophy with a 1-0 win at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto.
Putin moves sees UCL final moved to Paris
So, as vaccination programmes across Europe allowed life to return to some sort of normality, the Champions League final 2022 was all set to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 28 May, in a stadium which was built as part of the 2018 World Cup. As controversial as it was for President Vladimir Putin's nation to be awarded the tournament, the stadium itself was, unsurprisingly, financed by one of UEFA’s major sponsors, energy company Gazprom. A relationship ended following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Along with action from governments, organisations and companies around the world, UEFA also made the decision to strip Russia of the tournament's showpiece final, moving it instead to the Stade de France in Paris.
“The UEFA Executive Committee today held an extraordinary meeting following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe,” the official UEFA statement read.
Future UCL final venues
Barring any more extraordinary events, following the 2022 final in the French capital, Istanbul's Attaturk stadium will, after several attempts, stage the 2022/23 competition finale with Wembley Stadium in London hosting the 2023/24 final and Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena, which holds 75,000 spectators, set to take centre stage for the 2024/25.