The St Petersburg football stadium in Russia was all set to host the UEFA Champions League final 2022 in May. However, going by the current tension between Russia and Ukraine the final seems unlikely to happen though UEFA is yet to take the decision on the matter. The 2021-22 Champions League final was all set to happen at the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg, which is the home ground of Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg.
How world leaders are reacting to the Russia Ukraine war
The Russia Ukraine war started with Russian president Vladimir Putin saying that the military operation was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine a claim the US had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states and moved soldiers into the two rebel-held regions.
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, February 22, announced that the US is sanctioning two of Russia’s largest banks, cutting it off from getting loans from the West and imposing sanctions on Russia’s elites and their families. After announcing sanctions on Moscow, Boris Johnson suggested in the UK Parliament that Russia should be stripped of hosting the Champions League final this year.
According to Goal.com report, the British media has reported that Russia will likely have no choice but to give up the Champions League final if Russia Ukraine war situation escalates. The report further states that St Petersburg local organising committee chief Alexey Sorokin has insisted that the game will go ahead as planned.
While speaking to TASS Sorokin said, “We do not pay attention to various comments from the British media. We’ve been dealing with this for the last 15 years – since 2008, when something was supposedly going to be taken from us,” the official added, referring to when Russia held the Champions League final in Moscow in 2008.
He added, “UEFA is a large international sports organisation, it operates outside a political context. The organising committee and UEFA haven’t had any discussions on this topic and can’t have any. We’re preparing for the final as planned. We’re awaiting the arrival of more than 50,000 foreign fans.”
Will the UEFA Champions League take place?
While there is no word about the tournament getting shifted from St Petersburg, ESPN has reported that UEFA is holding internal discussions regarding a contingency plan for the 2022 Champions League final, pending the escalating situation. As per the report, sources have said that UEFA are prepared to move this season if the situation demands a switch of venue just like they did it in the past two finals at short notice due to COVID-19. The report further states that, with supporters likely to travel in numbers to final due to the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions throughout Europe, clarity will be necessary for UEFA to avoid the problems that would be caused by a late change of venue.
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