UEFA is set to strip St Petersburg of the Champions League Final at an emergency meeting tomorrow.
European football’s governing body confirmed President Aleksander Ceferin had summoned an ‘extraordinary meeting’ of his ruling executive committee at 9am tomorrow.
Uefa said the decision was ‘following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine in the last 24 hours’ and that the meeting would ‘evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions’.
European football chiefs have been preparing the ground for a decision over the May 29th showpiece, with London among one of the alternative venues.
But the scale of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced the issue with Uefa recognising an imminent decision is now required.
Members of the European Parliament have already written to Uefa boss Aleksander Ceferin, telling him: “Uefa must act now.”
Uefa bosses held intensive talks this morning over the issue before releasing the meeting statement which seems certain to result in a decision to move the game from the Gazprom Arena.
That will also ramp up the heat on Fifa to act and kick Russia out if their World Cup play-off with Poland, due to be played in Moscow on March 24.
Polish FA chiefs have already signalled their ‘concerns’ at the prospect of being made to play in Moscow after the country’s government condemned Russia’s aggression.
But it now appears impossible for the match to take place as scheduled – and increasingly unlikely that other nations will accept Russia’s continued involvement in football.
That could also see Uefa being urged to ban ALL Russian club sides.
But Uefa is also now under pressure to rip up its Champions League sponsorship contract with Gazprom.
The crisis that is enveloping Europe now means sport – and football in particular – is a key actor in the scenario.
Germany and Japan were both banned from entering qualification for the 1950 World Cup in the aftermath of World War Two.
And South Africa was kicked out of Fifa in 1961, spending 35 years in the wilderness as the game sanctioned the Apartheid regime.
Fifa President Gianni Infantino will be asked to explain his stance at a news conference this evening following a scheduled virtual meeting of the governing body’s ruling Council.
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