Paris to host Champions League final after game moved from Russia

UEFA confirmed on Friday that the showpiece game will be moved from St Petersburg to the French capital.

Stade de France in Paris to host Champions League final after game moved from Russia over Ukraine invasion iStock

This season’s Champions League final will be played in Paris after footballing authorities decided to move the game from St Petersburg over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UEFA confirmed on Friday that the showpiece game on Saturday, May 28, will be moved to the French capital’s Stade de France.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all remain in the tournament alongside the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

The governing body held an emergency meeting to discuss its response to the crisis.

The match was due to played in the 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena in Russia’s second-largest city.

The Stade de France can host over 80,000 spectators.

A statement from UEFA on Friday said: “The UEFA executive committee decided to relocate the final of the 2021-22 UEFA Men’s Champions League from St Petersburg to Stade de France in St Denis.

“The game will be played as initially scheduled on Saturday, May 28.

“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.”

The Scotland vs Ukraine World Cup qualifier due to be played at Hampden next month has also been thrown into doubt with the Ukranian league suspended.

The UEFA executive committee also decided that all Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing will be required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice.

This is set to affect Spartak Moscow in the Europa League, and also Russia and Ukraine in the 2022-23 Nations League which is due to get under way in June.

FIFA has yet to take a decision on what to do about next month’s World Cup play-off matches.

Russia host Poland in a play-off semi-final on March 24 and would then face the winner of the Sweden v Czech Republic semi in Russia for a place in Qatar as things stand.

The federations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic issued a statement on Thursday insisting matches should not be played on Russian territory and demanding “alternative solutions” be found.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday his organisation would look at the matter with “urgency” but said he hoped the situation would be resolved by next month.

UEFA is also understood to be in discussions with its lawyers over the termination of its sponsorship deal with Russian energy firm Gazprom.

The company, which is majority-owned by the Russian state, is reported to pay UEFA 40million euros (around £33.5m) a year to sponsor the Champions League and other competitions.

UEFA said on Friday: “There will be other meetings of the Exco soon where additional matters (related to the Russian invasion) will be addressed.”

Meanwhile Formula 1 also confirmed that the Russia Grand Prix will no longer be going ahead as a result of the ongoing crisis.

The motor racing authority said it would be “impossible” to run the event in the current circumstances.

A statement released on Friday said: “We are watching developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock, and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.

“On Thursday evening Formula 1 the FIA and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, is that it would be impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”

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