Paris to host Champions League final after UEFA strips Russia of showpiece match
Paris will host this season's Champions League final after Saint Petersburg was stripped of the match due to Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, UEFA announced on Friday. The showpiece occasion of the European club season will be played at the Stade de France on Saturday, May 28, European football's governing body said after holding an emergency meeting in response to the crisis...
The final was supposed to be played at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, which already hosted several matches at last year's European Championship and at the 2018 World Cup held in Russia.
UEFA made no reference to its relationship with Gazprom, the Russian state energy giant that is a key sponsor of European football's governing body.
Meanwhile, UEFA announced that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in international competitions must play home matches at neutral venues "until further notice".
FIFA may now move to force Russia to play their World Cup qualifying play-off against Poland on March 24 on neutral ground.
On Thursday the Polish, Czech and Swedish football federations released a joint statement calling on FIFA to move upcoming World Cup qualifying play-off ties away from Russia.
UEFA also said it would work to help football players in Ukraine get out of the country as the war intensifies.
Global players union FIFPro said in a statement that it was "currently seeking assurances and support from the international football bodies to protect professional players in the country."