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24 Feb, 2022 11:34

UEFA calls emergency meeting amid claims Russia to lose Champions League final

UEFA will meet on Friday, when it is expected to discuss St. Petersburg's hosting of the 2022 Champions League Final
UEFA calls emergency meeting amid claims Russia to lose Champions League final

UEFA will hold an emergency meeting on Friday morning where it will discuss the status of St. Petersburg's hosting rights for the 2022 Champions League Final.

Speculation has circulated that European football's governing body will move to withdraw the showpiece fixture from Russia, amid the launch of a special military operation by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the UEFA president has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee for 10:00 CET on Friday 25 February, in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions," read a statement. 

UEFA added that further comment will be made at the conclusion of the meeting.

It had been speculated in the British press that UEFA may opt to move the final from St. Petersburg should military action be launched – but this was denied by Alexey Sorokin, head of the St. Petersburg local organizing committee.

“We do not pay attention to various comments from the British media,” he told the TASS news agency this week before the situation escalated.

“We’ve been dealing with this for the last 15 years – since 2008, when something was supposedly going to be taken from us,” he added, referencing similar rumors circulated ahead of Moscow's hosting of the 2008 final.

“UEFA is a large international sports organization, it operates outside a political context. The organizing committee and UEFA haven’t had any discussions on this topic and can’t have any.

“We’re preparing for the final as planned. We’re awaiting the arrival of more than 50,000 foreign fans.”

UEFA, meanwhile, said this week that it was “monitoring the situation,” but stopped short of saying that plans were being discussed to move the 2022 final to a different venue.

It has also been suggested that London may be in line to take over hosting duties should UEFA opt to replace St. Petersburg as the host city.