European football’s governing body on Friday voted to move this season’s Champions League final, the showpiece match on the continent’s sporting calendar, to Paris as a punishment for Russia’s invasion of Russia. Ukraine.
The match, on May 28, was scheduled to be played in St.Petersburg, in a stadium built for the 2018 World Cup and sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom, a host main sponsor of UEFA. Instead, it will take place at the Stade de France, in the suburb of Saint-Denis north of Paris. It will be France’s first time hosting the final since 2006.
UEFA also decided to move any matches in the leagues it controls to be played in Russia and Ukraine, whether involving clubs or national teams. For now, that affects only one club game: Spartak Moscow’s next home game in the Europa League second division.
But UEFA’s move to sanction Russia will put new pressure on world football’s governing body, FIFA, to move a World Cup qualifying match to Moscow next month.
On Thursday, football federations from Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden wrote to FIFA calling for a ban on Russia from hosting the playoff matches for the 2022 World Cup scheduled for next month. Poland is scheduled to face Russia in Moscow on March 24. If Russia wins that match, it will host the match between Czechs and Sweden in a match that will decide one of Europe’s final places at World Cup in Qatar later this year. .
“The military escalation we are observing has serious consequences and significantly reduces the safety of our national football teams and official delegations,” the federation wrote. in a joint statement. They called on FIFA – the authority over the games – and UEFA to immediately come up with “alternatives” for sites that are not on Russian soil.
UEFA has in recent days been heavily lobbying, privately and publicly, by British officials about moving the Champions League final to London. However, that idea was quickly dismissed for logistical reasons as well as dissatisfaction about the game becoming a political tool for British lawmakers, who often use football to score goals. points at home and abroad. For example, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, this week suggested British teams should boycott the game if they qualify and it is not shipped out of Russia.
Paris has emerged as the leading candidate to replace St.Petersburg because it has not hosted a match since 2006 and because France currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, one of the bodies. block important decision-making.
UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, arrived in the French capital on Thursday to meet with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to finalize the deal.
This will be the third year in a row that the Champions League final has been postponed, with the two most recent being moved to Portugal over coronavirus concerns.
The final in Paris will also be the first time since the coronavirus outbreak that the match will be played in a full stadium. The 2020 final was played without spectators as part of a bubble-like environment created to close out the rest of the tournament, while last year’s restrictions meant only part From the Dragão stadium in Porto, people are allowed.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/sports/soccer/champions-league-final-paris-russia.html Champions League final will take place in Paris, not Russia