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UEFA could move the Champions League final amidst Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Stands at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg Russia where the Champions League final is scheduled to take place. | PHOTO: Getty Images |
  • The 2022 UEFA Champions League final was scheduled and is still scheduled to be played in Saint Petersburg, the home stadium to Zenit.
  • UEFA could move the match from Saint Petersburg amidst the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine that has raised security tensions across the globe.
  • England’s national team stadium Wembley has been identified as a possible option should the match be moved from Krestovsky Stadium.

The 2022 Champions League final could be moved from Saint Petersburg due to the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict, with Wembley Stadium being tipped as an alternative venue.

The final match is currently scheduled to take place at Zenit’s Krestovsky Stadium, but off-field problems are likely to see it taken away from the city, UEFA has confirmed on Tuesday. February 2022.

Russia and Ukraine are currently engaged in a fraught standoff, with tensions gradually increasing since the former annexed Crimea and also invaded areas in the Donbas region. Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces have been at war in Donbas ever since, and Russian president Vladimir Putin scaled things up on Monday by declaring the area an independent state.

The Krestovsky Stadium

The Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the home stadium to Zenit St Petersburg was scheduled to host the 2022 UEFA Champions League finals. | PHOTO: RUSLAN SHAMUKOV/GettyImages |

His actions have been widely condemned by western Europe, with NATO nations imposing sanctions on Russia over the past few years.

Now, UEFA could be ready to deprive Russia of the chance to host this year’s Champions League final. According to RMC Sport, the governing body are seriously considering the move with London’s Wembley Stadium being touted as a likely alternative if the showpiece event is to be moved.

Whether UEFA will follow through with the sanction remains to be seen. A statement issued on Tuesday read: “Uefa is constantly and closely monitoring the situation. At present, there are no plans to change the venue.”

The nominally non-political organisation has attempted to remain ‘neutral’ on contentious geopolitical issues in the past despite issues always being there.

For instance, during Euro 2020 they blocked the Allianz Arena from being lit up in LGBTQI+ colours during Hungary’s meeting with Germany due to anti-gay legislation passed by Viktor Orban’s Hungarian government before the tournament.

UEFA also received criticism for awarding Azerbaijan the 2019 Europa League final that pitted Premier League sides Chelsea and Arsenal, despite the authoritarian government currently in power there as well as the fact that it meant Armenian Arsenal player Henrikh Mkhitaryan could not travel due to safety concerns.

There is also the issue of the Russia-state majority-owned energy company Gazprom, which has an extremely lucrative sponsorship arrangement with the Champions League.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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