Paris replaces Russia for UEFA Champions League final
Russia was stripped of hosting this season’s Champions League final by UEFA on Friday with St Petersburg replaced by Paris in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European soccer’s governing body said in a statement on Friday.
The final is set to be held in the 80,000-seat Stade de France.
The governing body thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment in taking on the final.
“UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis,” a statement said.
UEFA also said the home games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams competing in UEFA competitions would be played at neutral venues “until further notice”.
It further said it would “fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement”.
Champions League final was set to be staged at St Petersburg
The Champions League final was set to be staged at Zenit St Petersburg’s stadium on May 28 with thousands of supporters from across the continent expected to attend the showcase match in European club soccer.
The St Petersburg stadium is known as the Gazprom Stadium following a sponsorship deal with Russia’s state energy company, which also sponsors the Champions League and UEFA’s Euro 2024 national team competition.
The move to strip St Petersburg of the final follows calls from a group of European lawmakers who asked UEFA on Thursday to change the venue and stop considering Russian cities for major international soccer competitions.
The lawmakers also asked UEFA to end Gazprom’s sponsorship of the continent’s elite club competition. Friday’s UEFA statement made no mention of Gazprom, however.
The 2023 Champions League final is set to be contested in Istanbul with Wembley in London hosting the following year and Munich’s Allianz Arena the venue for the final in 2025.
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