UEFA will move the Champions League final from Russian city St Petersburg due to the escalating situation in Ukraine. However, it is unclear whether the governing body will confirm a new venue for the final.
The final was due to take place at the 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg on May 28 but UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has called an “extraordinary meeting” of the Executive Committee for Friday to confirm the decision to move the match.
European football’s governing body issued a statement on Thursday, “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 the governing body of European football, UEFA is working tirelessly to develop and promote football according to common European values such as peace and respect for human rights, in the spirit of the Olympic Charter. We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people,” skysports.com reports on Thursday.
“We are dealing with this situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency. Decisions will be taken by the UEFA Executive Committee and announced tomorrow.”
In other developments, Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic released joint statement saying they will not travel to Russia to play World Cup play-off games due to security fears. Russia are due to play Poland on March 24th at the Dynamo Central Stadium in Moscow, with the winner then playing either Sweden or Czech Republic in either Russia or Poland.
Earlier, Formula One authority said on Thursday that the race organisers are monitoring the situation in Russia “very closely” ahead of the planned grand prix on September 25 after the ongoing tension in the region, However, they offered no comment on whether the race in Sochi will go ahead.
Meanwhile, German racing driver Sebastian Vettel has said he will not compete in Formula One’s Russian Grand Prix this year amid the ongoing military operations of Russia in Ukraine.
“In my personal opinion, I woke up to this morning’s news, shocked, so I don’t know. I think it’s horrible to see what is happening,” Vettel was quoted as saying by SkySports.
“Obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia. For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in the country,” he added.