UEFA, the governing body of European football, announced that the biggest European club football match, the Champions League final, shall not be played in St Petersburg, Russia, as per The Hollywood Reporter. Russia lost the honour of hosting the UEFA Champions League final after invading Ukraine.
The game, which is set for May 28, was initially meant to be played at a stadium financed by Gazprom, the Russian energy giant and one of the major sponsors of the UEFA.
Presently, an emergency board meeting of UEFA board members is scheduled for Friday, to decide an alternate location for the game, THR reported. It remains unclear whether Alexander Dyukov, the chairman of Gazprom, who was named on the board of UEFA last year, will also attend the meeting.
The group released a statement, saying, “UEFA shares the international community’s significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine”, as per THR.
Russian president, Vladimir Putin earlier recognized two Russian territories as independent regions, before sending troops in as a peacekeeping force. Ukraine and NATO members have identified this move as an invasion. As a result, Russia faces numerous sanctions. Among them are sanctions against prominent Russian businesses and oligarchs. There are some fears that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich might be targeted since there have been some calls for the same among Labour MPs.
Meanwhile, UEFA has not yet decided if Russian teams, already in club competitions, should be allowed to continue.
Putin, despite stating that Russia had no plans of invading Ukraine, made a move to send troops into the country. As a result, Ukraine has severed diplomatic ties with Russia. While most nations have condemned Putin’s actions and prepared sanctions, China has been supportive of Russia. It has repeatedly urged that the country’s security concerns should be addressed.