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UEFA to move Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris

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UEFA is set to move this season’s Champions League final from Saint Petersburg in Russia to Paris in France.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin chaired an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee on Friday where it was decided to move the showpiece event away from Saint Petersburg following the military attack on Ukraine led by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The final will instead move to the Stade de France in Paris, as first reported by the New York Times. The French capital last hosted the European Cup final in 2006, when Barcelona defeated Arsenal 2-1.

UEFA had come under considerable pressure to move the final away from Saint Petersburg, with European lawmakers on Thursday asking the governing body to move the final and to stop considering Russian cities for international football events.

The group of politicians also called on UEFA to sever ties with Russian state energy company Gazprom, which sponsors the Champions League.

A letter sent to UEFA from a group of politicians in the European parliament said: “We call on you to stop considering Saint Petersburg and other Russian cities as venues for international football competitions and to choose as a first and very urgent step an alternative venue for the Champions League final on May 28, 2022.

“In addition, we appeal to you to convene a special meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee, to terminate cooperation with Gazprom as UEFA sponsor and to consider sanctions against individual Russian officials who are complicit in the violation of international law.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Tuesday: “A Russia that is more isolated, a Russia that has pariah status — (there is) no chance of holding football tournaments in a Russia that invades sovereign countries.

“A Russia that is engaged in a bloody and debilitating conflict with a fellow Slav country. What an appalling result for President Putin.”

Football Supporters Europe, meanwhile, called for an “imminent announcement” over arrangements for the final after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on Thursday.

“On this tragic day, our thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine, our friends, colleagues, members, & their loved ones,” an FSE statement on Twitter read.

“Given the events unfolding, we expect an imminent announcement from UEFA on the relocation of the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg.”

Zenit Saint Petersburg were knocked out of the Europa League last night, meaning there are now no Russian sides left in the three European club competitions (Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League).

Real Betis beat Zenit 3-2 on aggregate to eliminate the Russian side. The two sides drew 0-0 in Spain last night.

Zenit thought they had forced extra time in the last minute but their goal was disallowed by the video assistant referee as there was a foul in the build up.

(Photo: Getty Images)





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