The European entity confirmed Paris as the new venue for the defining match of the continental competition. Meanwhile, it was also defined that the games of clubs and national teams to be held in Russia and Ukraine will be played on a neutral field “until further notice”, affecting the Play-Off towards the World Cup in Qatar. For its part, Formula 1 canceled the Russian GP that was to be held in September. “It is impossible to celebrate it in the current circumstances,” they stressed.
The world of sports reacted this Friday, February 25, to the events that occurred due to Russia’s advance on Ukraine. To the protocol sentences, the most important entities of European football and motor racing took action on the matter.
UEFA decided to change the venue for the Champions League final by taking it out of Saint Petersburg and taking it to Paris. In addition, he took away the location of the Russian National Team for the Play-Offs of the World Cup Qualifiers and Spartak Moscow in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced that the Russian Grand Prix due to take place in Sochi in September will be cancelled. On Thursday, the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen threatened not to go to the event if it went ahead.
The Champions League, from Russia to France
UEFA reported that, due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, the final of the 2021-22 edition will change venues and will not be played at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg. It will be the Stade de France in Saint-Dennis who will host the defining match of the continental tournament. The date will remain on May 28 at 9:00 p.m. (CET).
The Executive Committee of the organization held an extraordinary meeting due to the events of the last few hours and gave rise to petitions requesting a change of scenery for security reasons and condemnation of Russia’s actions. Alexander Dyukov and Andrii Pavelko, presidents of the Russian and Ukrainian Federation respectively, are part of the Executive.
In the letter released through its digital platforms, UEFA expressed “its thanks and appreciation” to French President Emmanuel Macron for “his personal support and commitment” to host the most prestigious European club duel at a time “of unprecedented crisis ”.
In addition, they added that UEFA will support, together with the Government of France, efforts to “guarantee the rescue of footballers and their families in Ukraine who face terrible human suffering, destruction and displacement.”
The Kremlin quickly responded to the statement, deploring the organization’s decision to pull the final from St. Petersburg, saying the city would have been a good host for a “football party.” For his part, Dyukov stated that this was “dictated for political reasons.”
The 2021/22 #UCLfinal will move 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.
Full statement ⬇️
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 25, 2022
It is the third change of venue for the Champions League final that UEFA has made in a row, the previous two being due to the pandemic.
UEFA competitions outside Russia and Ukraine
The statement issued this Friday also includes the resolution that details the loss of venues for the clubs and national teams of Russia and Ukraine in the tournaments organized by UEFA. The institutions and international teams of both countries must host in neutral stadiums “until further notice.”
This decision especially affects the Russian National Team that was going to receive Poland at the Luzhniki Olympic on March 24 in the clash corresponding to the first round of Play-Off Qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. In addition, in case of overcoming to the Poles, it also had to be measured against the Czech Republic or Sweden in Moscow.
Александр Дюков по итогам экстренного заседания исполкома УЕФА
– Мы считаем, что решение о переносе места проведения финала ЛЧ продиктовано политическими причинами РФС всегда придерживается принципа «спорт вне политики».
— РФС (@rfsruofficial) February 25, 2022
Last Thursday, these three teams that share the table with the Russians had published a letter where they refused to go to Russia to play the matches and demanded that UEFA and FIFA take action on the matter.
Ukraine is also in the Repechage phase for the World Cup, but as it is the worst classified in this instance, it could not be local in any of the matches. On the 24th he will travel to Glasgow.
At the club level, despite the fact that UEFA’s resolution covers the three continental competitions, the only team that will be affected will be Spartak Moscow, which will not be able to face RB Leipzig at the Otkrytie Arena for the Round of 16 series in Europe . There are no other surviving Russian or Ukrainian institutions in the Champions League or Conference League.
Formula 1 lowered the Russian GP
This Friday, the FIA reported that the competition that was scheduled for September 25 in the Sochi Olympic Park was canceled as they considered it “impossible” to do it after the country invaded Ukraine.
In their statement they expressed their solidarity and stated that they expect “a quick and peaceful resolution of the situation.” “We are watching the events in Ukraine with sadness and shock,” they added.
As detailed in the letter, on Thursday night the FIA, Formula 1 and the competing teams discussed “the position of the sport”. “We came to the conclusion that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix under the current circumstances,” they asserted.
Last Thursday, the pressure on the organizers increased after the pilot Sebastian Vettel, four times world champion, affirmed in a press conference that he refused to participate in the Sochi GP if they decided to carry it out. While the current champion, Max Verstappen, said that “it was not right” to race in a country at war.
Even the main sponsor of the race in Russia is the VTB Group, owner of VTB Bank, one of the targets sanctioned by the United States and the United Kingdom after the invasion.
The cancellation of this race brings the number of circuits down to 22 on this season’s calendar. However, it is not ruled out that a new venue will appear to host the competition on that date.
With EFE and Reuters