UEFA shifts Champions League final to Paris from Russia
UEFA on Friday confirmed the Champions League final has been moved from Russia to Paris in the wake of Moscow's Ukraine invasion. The news was confirmed via a press release following an emergency meeting by UEFA. The UCL final was earlier scheduled to take place on May 28 in St. Petersburg. It will be now held at the Stade de France in Paris.
What did UEFA have to say?
"The UEFA Executive Committee today held an extraordinary meeting following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe," the statement read. "The UEFA Executive Committee decided to relocate the final of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League from Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The game will be played as initially scheduled on Saturday 28 May at 21:00 CET," it added.
UEFA thanks French President
The UEFA Executive Committee also expressed gratitude to French President Emmanuel Macron for "his personal support and commitment to have European club football's most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis". "Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine," it added.
Russia and Ukraine to play at neutral venue
UEFA also ordered Russian and Ukrainian clubs, as well as their respective national teams, to play their remaining home games at a neutral venue. Ukraine and Russian teams are slated to play the 2022 Qatar World Cup play-off games next month. Russia are slated to play host to Poland on March 24 in Moscow. Ukraine are scheduled to visit Scotland on the same date.
What will happen to the Russian club in European competition?
No Russian side has reached the last 16 of UCL. Spartak Moscow are the only Russian side to reach R16 of the Europa League. They will find out their next opponent during the Europa draw. They will play their home games at a neutral venue.
A look at Russia and Ukraine crisis
Russia on Thursday launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, drawing criticism from several nations. The reason behind the tension between the two nations is said to be Ukraine's desire to join the intergovernmental military alliance NATO. On Thursday alone, Ukraine reported 137 deaths in the fighting while 316 people sustained injuries. On Friday, Russian forces continued to advance into Ukrainian territory, reaching capital Kyiv.