Russia makes Champions League money demand
Russia expects UEFA to pay compensation after the organization stripped St. Petersburg of the 2022 Champions League final, local organizing committee chief Alexey Sorokin has said.
UEFA announced on February 25 that it was moving this season’s European club football showpiece from the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg to the Stade de France in Paris, as punishment for Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.
Russian official Sorokin has said talks are taking place to cover the costs incurred as a result of the decision.
“We are in the process of discussion. Reimbursement of expenses incurred is not a one-step process,” Sorokin told TASS.
“We have no doubt that all obligations will be fulfilled, but it isn’t easy to calculate everything in detail. We have sent all the information to UEFA.
“I don’t know [how long it will take], but I think in April all this will be completed,” he added.
The Champions League final had been due to take place at the 68,000-seater Gazprom Arena on May 28. The venue is home to Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg, and hosted matches at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup, and 2020 UEFA European Championship.
The 2022 Champions League final was set to be the second held in Russia, after Moscow hosted the 2008 edition between Manchester United and Chelsea.
The removal of the final is one of numerous sporting showpieces that the country has lost since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended sanctions against Russia in the wake of the military offensive in Ukraine.
Among other events, Russia has lost the 2022 World Men’s Volleyball Championship and the 2023 Junior World Ice Hockey Championship. The 2023 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship is also under question.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko has estimated that Russia will save more than 8 billion rubles ($79.5 million) by not hosting international showpieces, funds which he says will be redirected into the development of domestic sport.
Russia surprised many this week by formally submitting a declaration of interest in hosting either the 2028 or 2032 editions of the UEFA European Championship.
The move comes despite all Russian teams currently being suspended from UEFA and FIFA competitions – a decision which the Russian Football Union (RFU) has unsuccessfully appealed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).