UEFA’s decision to continue to host the 2022 Champions League final in Saint Petersburg has been met with a lot of criticism from fans and pundits alike, after it was confirmed on Tuesday morning that Russian troops were on ‘peacekeeping duties’ on the Ukrainian border with war potentially looming.
Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two rebel-held sections of eastern Ukraine on Monday, after his country recognised them as independent states.
Footage showed military vehicles heading towards the Ukrainian border.
Russia said their troops would be keeping the peace, although Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky claimed his country isn’t afraid of anyone.
The longer the feud goes on the more confusion there will be over the upcoming Champions League final.
The Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, which holds 67,000 people, had been chosen as the venue for the final on May 28.
But despite the exponential increase of tensions in Eastern Europe, UEFA have not considered changing the venue as a possibility just yet, something they have been blasted for by fans.
“UEFA is constantly and closely monitoring the situation. At present, there are no plans to change the venue,” a statement said.
Yet a report by the Daily Star states that there may be contingency plans being drawn up to move the Champions League final away from the Gazprom Arena.
They claim that UEFA could move the final to Wembley if tensions are still high, especially if two English sides make the final.
And UEFA’s stubbornness has left many fuming at the news, including Brexiteer Patrick O’Flynn.
“Never doubt the inclination of international football authorities to put money first every single time,” O’Flynn tweeted.
Meanwhile, The Athletic journalist Adam Crafton said UEFA must take action and that it would be ‘interesting to see how they handle the situation’.
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