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24 Feb, 2022 13:48

UEFA will strip Russia of Champions League final – report

The 2022 Champions League final will no longer take place in St. Petersburg, the Associated Press has claimed
UEFA will strip Russia of Champions League final – report

UEFA has decided to move the 2022 Champions League final from St. Petersburg ahead of a special meeting of its executive committee scheduled for Friday morning, according to reports. 

Speculation has circulated this week which suggested that European football's governing body was considering stripping Russia of the showpiece fixture due to escalating tensions with Ukraine – and the Associated Press has claimed that a decision has already been made ahead of Friday's summit.

The AP quoted a source who wished to remain anonymous in saying that the final will no longer be played in St. Petersburg.

Speaking earlier this week, the head of the St. Petersburg local organizing committee, Alexey Sorokin, said the issue had yet to be discussed.

“UEFA is a large international sports organization, it operates outside a political context,” Sorokin said.

“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 itself said in a statement released on Thursday morning that following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine in the last 24 hours, the UEFA president has decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee.... in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions. 

This follows calls from the British government to move the game to another location. It has been suggested that London may take over hosting duties.

There has also been notable pushback from figures within Swedish and Polish football about the possibility of playing pivotal World Cup qualification fixtures in Moscow in March. 

UEFA is expected to announce its decision following Friday's meeting.