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UEFA relocates Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris – SABC News

According to a statement by the European Football Association on Friday, UEFA moved this year’s final of the Champions League from St. Petersburg to Paris following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UEFA also stated that domestic matches of Ukrainian and Russian clubs and national teams participating in UEFA competitions will be played in neutral venues “until further notice”.

The governing body thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his “personal support and commitment” in participating in the final.

He added that he will “fully support the multi-stakeholder efforts to secure the rescue of Ukrainian footballers and their families facing severe human suffering, destruction and displacement”.

The final of the Champions League would have taken place on May 28 at Zenit St. Petersburg Stadium, and thousands of fans are expected to come from the continent to the European club football showcase.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call: “It is a shame that such a decision has been made. St. Petersburg could have provided all the favorable conditions for hosting this football festival. ”

Nadine Dorries, the UK Minister for Culture for Sport, supported UEFA’s decision.

“I welcome UEFA’s decisive move to deprive St. Petersburg of hosting this year’s Champions League final.

“Russia must not be allowed to exploit sporting and cultural events on the world stage to legitimize its unprovoked, premeditated and unnecessary attack on a sovereign democratic state.”

The stadium in St. Petersburg is known as Gazprom Stadium after a sponsorship deal with the Russian state energy company, which also sponsors the Champions League and UEFA Euro 2024 national team competition.

The move to deprive St. Petersburg of the final, following a call from a group of European lawmakers, on Thursday called on UEFA to change the venue and disregard Russian cities for major international football competitions.

Lawmakers have also asked UEFA to end its sponsorship of Gazprom in the continent’s elite club competition. However, UEFA’s announcement on Friday made no mention of Gazprom.

The 2023 final of the Champions League will be held in Istanbul, next year it will be hosted by Wembley in London and in 2025 by the Allianz Arena in Munich.

UEFA relocates Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris – SABC News

Source link UEFA relocates Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris – SABC News

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