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In the midst of Russia's intensifying armed war with Ukraine, UEFA voted on Friday to relocate the 2022 Champions League Final from St. Petersburg, Russia to Paris.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European soccer’s governing body, voted on Friday to move this season’s Champions League final, the continent’s biggest athletic event, to Paris. The Champions League Final is shifted from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Paris. For the first time since 2006, the final, which will take place on May 28, will be held at the Stade de France in Paris.
The match was supposed to take place on May 28 in St. Petersburg, in a stadium built for the 2018 World Cup and supported by Gazprom, a key UEFA sponsor. Instead, it will be held in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, a northern Paris neighborhood. France will host the final for the first time since 2006. UEFA has ruled that any games in its tournaments that were scheduled to be played in Russia or Ukraine, whether involving clubs or national teams, would be rescheduled until further notice. At the time, this only affects one club match: Spartak Moscow’s next home game in the Europa League’s second division.
In an official statement, UEFA said,
“UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic 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 who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”
However, UEFA’s decision to relocate games from Russia to Paris will increase pressure on FIFA, the world soccer governing body, to reschedule a World Cup qualifying match scheduled for Moscow next month. UEFA has also opted to reschedule any games in its tournaments that were scheduled to take place in Russia or Ukraine. Spartak Moscow’s upcoming Europa League home game.
The soccer federations of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Sweden wrote to FIFA on Thursday, requesting that Russia be barred from hosting playoff games for the 2022 World Cup, which begins next month.
— PZPN (@pzpn_pl) February 24, 2022
On March 24, Poland will take on Russia in Moscow. If Russia wins that game, it will host the winner of the Czech Republic-Sweden match, which will determine one of Europe’s remaining spots in the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
With the Czech Republic, Poland, and Sweden publishing a unified statement requesting that their upcoming World Cup qualifying matches in Russia are shifted, so there will be even greater pressure on FIFA to follow suit.