The world of soccer has responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with marquee event UEFA Men’s Champions League final moved from Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris.
The UEFA Executive Committee held an extraordinary meeting on Friday, “following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe,” the UEFA said in a statement. Russia has been stripped of the tournament final but the game will be played as initially scheduled on May 28.
“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. Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football [soccer] players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement,” the UEFA said.
At the meeting, the UEFA Executive Committee also decided that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in UEFA competitions will be required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice.
“The UEFA Executive Committee further determined to remain on standby to convene further extraordinary meetings, on a regular ongoing basis where required, to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary,” the statement added.
The UEFA had been under severe pressure to change the venue ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday. A group of European politicians had urged the soccer body to change the finals venue and also to terminate Russian company Gazprom as a sponsor.
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