Champions League final moved to Paris from St Petersburg
UEFA has moved the Champions League final on May 28 to Paris from St Petersburg, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UEFA executive committee held an emergency meeting on Friday and decided to move the showpiece to the Stade de France from the 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena in Vladimir Putin’s home city.
A UEFA statement said: “The UEFA Executive Committee today held an extraordinary meeting following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe.
“The UEFA Executive Committee decided to relocate the final of the 2021/22 UEFA Men’s Champions League from Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The game will be played as initially scheduled on Saturday 28 May at 21:00 CET.
“UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis.
“Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”
The executive committee also decided Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in UEFA competitions will be required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice.
This is set to affect Spartak Moscow in the Europa League and also Russia and Ukraine in the 2022-23 Nations League which is due to get under way in June.
FIFA has yet to take a decision on what to do about next month’s World Cup play-off matches.
Russia host Poland in a play-off semi-final on March 24 and would then face the winner of the Sweden vs Czech Republic semi-final in Russia for a place in Qatar.
The federations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic issued a statement on Thursday insisting matches should not be played on Russian territory and demanding “alternative solutions” be found.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday his organisation would look at the matter with “urgency” but said he hoped the situation would be resolved by next month.
Ukraine are due to face Scotland at Hampden Park in a play-off semi-final on March 24, but that match is also in doubt with the Ukrainian league suspended following the invasion.