Saint Petersburg Champions League final: UEFA change plans amid Ukrainian and Russian crisis, where final could move
With the Russian-Ukrainian crisis now a ‘full-scale war’, UEFA must look to stage the Champions League final elsewhere.
The UEFA Champions League final is currently due to take place in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but UEFA are now very likely to strip Krestovsky Gazprom Stadium of the privilege of hosting the game.
Four Premier League clubs are still competing in the Champions League – a league sponsored by Russian energy company Gazprom.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea (a side owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, are all in the last 16 of the competition with hopes of making it to the final, wherever that may be.
Where would the Champions League take place?
If UEFA moves the final, which is becoming increasingly inevitable, the obvious option would be Wembley.
However, the Champions League final is scheduled for May 28, the same date as the EFL League Two play-off final which is also due to be held at Wembley.
Not only are Wembley set to host the Champions League final in 2024, but UEFA may be reluctant to send the two finalist teams to London after the violence and disorder that was seen in the European Championship final last summer.
If London were to host the final, alternative options could include the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but this would once again create confusion as the rugby league Challenge Cup final is currently also scheduled for the same day.
Moreover, after Spurs’ initial leap when they signed up for the European Super League last year, they were reportedly not well received by UEFA.
UEFA will look to other major European cities to host the final as they seek to find infrastructure capable of accommodating around 100,000 supporters.
What was said?
Ahead of the recent announcement of the official invasion of Russia, UEFA said: “UEFA is constantly and closely monitoring the situation and any decision would be taken in due course if necessary. UEFA has no further comment at this time.
“To host the Champions League final is a privilege. The impression we would give if UEFA staged the final in St. Petersburg rewards this kind of aggressive action from Putin’s Russia.”
The Foreign Secretary spoke on Wednesday February 23, 2022 saying that if an English club were to reach the Champions League final and it was to be held in Russia, they should boycott it.
Speaking to LBC, Liz Truss said, “Yes, if I were them, I would boycott it. Personally, I wouldn’t want to play in a football match in St. Petersburg considering what the Putin regime is doing.”
What other sports would be affected by Russia’s decision?
Formula 1 is set to have a Grand Prix in Sochi in September. At the moment, the FIA still hopes to go ahead with the event.
Russia first joined the F1 calendar in October 2014, following its annexation of Crimea.
The Russian football team are due to face Poland in the final World Cup qualifier on March 24 and the Polish federation (PZPN) has contacted FIFA for clarification: “Due to the tense political situation in Ukraine and the Russian Federation, as well as possible a further escalation and the beginning of an armed conflict, the Polish Football Association asked Fifa to urgently clarify the issues.
Fifa would monitor the situation.
When is the Champions League final?
The Champions League final is currently scheduled for Saturday 28 May 2022.
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