UEFA to move Champions League final from Russia - source

Ukrainians living in Turkey hold a protest against Russia's military operation in Ukraine, in front of the Russian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey February 24, 2022. The slogan on the poster reads that: "Murderer Putin. Get out of Ukraine!". REUTERS

UEFA will move this year's Champions League final from St Petersburg in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee on Friday morning and it is expected to agree on moving the final.

The Champions League final, the showcase match in European club football, was set to be held at Zenit St Petersburg's stadium on May 28 - an event that would have normally drawn thousands of fans from across the continent.

The stadium is known as the Gazprom Stadium after a sponsorship deal with Russia’s state energy company, which also sponsors UEFA's Champions League and UEFA's Euro 2024 national team competition.

"Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine in the last 24 hours, the UEFA President has decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee for Friday 25 February at 10:00 CET, in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions," UEFA said in a statement.

Zenit St Petersburg are in action in the Europa League on Thursday, playing in Spain against Real Betis, and UEFA said that game will not be impacted.

"UEFA can confirm that all tonight’s games will be played as scheduled," the organisation said.

A group of European lawmakers wrote to UEFA on Thursday, asking it to change the venue and to stop considering Russian cities for international football competitions.

The 2023 Champions League final is due to be held in Istanbul with Wembley in London hosting the following year and Munich's Allianz Arena the venue for the final in 2025.

 

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