Champions League Final Moved to the Stade de France in Paris Following President Vladimir Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

Champions League Final Moved to the Stade de France in Paris Following President Vladimir Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

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25 Feb 2022
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Uefa Champions League

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Champions League final was stripped from Saint Petersburg, and the main event was handed to Paris instead.

After an extraordinary meeting of its executive committee this morning, UEFA confirmed that the European club football showcase event on Saturday, May 28 will be shifted to Paris from the Gazprom Arena in Moscow.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with forces storming from the north, east, and south, wreaking havoc on military institutions and killing civilians. At the last-16 stage of the competition, four Premier League clubs remain, with Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City leading into next month’s second leg games, and Manchester United level with Atletico Madrid.

The Champions League final will take place in the Stade de France in Paris, which last hosted the event 16 years ago when Barcelona defeated Arsenal.

‘The UEFA Executive Committee met in special session today as a result of the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe,’ according to a UEFA statement released on Friday.

‘The UEFA Executive Committee has decided to move the 2021-22 UEFA men’s Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Saint-Denis’ Stade de France. The game will take place on Saturday, May 28 at 9 p.m. CET (8 p.m. BST), as planned.’

‘UEFA wishes to express its gratitude to President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment in helping to bring European club football’s most prestigious game to France during a moment of unprecedented turmoil.’

‘UEFA will completely support multi-stakeholder efforts, in collaboration with the French government, to secure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who are facing extreme human suffering, destruction, and displacement.’

UEFA also confirmed that Russian and Ukrainian club and national teams will play their home games at neutral stadiums.

Spartak Moscow will be impacted because they are still in the Europa League, with the last-16 draw scheduled for later today, as well as Russia and Ukraine in the 2022-23 Nations League, which will be held in June.

‘At today’s meeting, the UEFA Executive Committee also determined that, until further notice, Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in UEFA competitions must play their home matches at neutral locations,’ the statement read.

‘The UEFA Executive Committee also resolved to remain on standby to hold additional extraordinary meetings, as needed, on a regular ongoing basis to examine the legal and factual position and make future decisions.’

FIFA has yet to make a judgment on the World Cup play-off matches, which will take place next month.

On March 24, Russia will host Poland, while Sweden will face the Czech Republic in the competition’s semi-finals. Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic’s national federations stated that matches should not be held in Russia and demanded “other options.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced on Thursday that the problem is being examined with ‘urgency,’ with hopes of a resolution by March.

Scotland is also scheduled to host Ukraine at Hampden Park next month at the same stage of the road to Qatar play-offs, but the match has been canceled after the Ukrainian football league was suspended for at least 30 days.

West Ham’s owners, according to Sportsmail, would have been interested in hosting the final at their 62,500-seat stadium.

Wembley Stadium, which seats 90,000 people, was considered, but the Championship and League Two play-off finals will be held on the same weekend. On June 1, the national stadium will host the ‘Finalissima’ between Italy and Argentina, the defending European and South American champions, respectively.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, or West Ham United’s stadium, had no such scheduling issues, but France’s capital was chosen as the new venue on Friday.

According to reports, the absence of the event since 2006, as well as France’s status within the Council of the European Union, put Paris in strong stead to win.

According to an official, Russian troops are expected to arrive in Kyiv today and are already fighting on the outskirts of the city.

A plot to seize an airport, fly in troops, and ‘decapitate’ the government was revealed by US intelligence.

Friday will be the war’s ‘hardest day,’ according to Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the country’s interior minister, as Russia armour pushes down from Chernihiv, to the north-east of the capital, and Ivankiv, to the north-west, in an attempt to encircle the city, where President Volodymyr Zelensky is still holed up.

Tanks were engaging Ukrainian soldiers 20 miles from the city early Friday, according to the US, before confrontations were reported in the capital’s northern area just a few hours later. The combat appeared to be taking place in Obolon, with civilians being encouraged to construct Molotov cocktails to throw at Russian tanks, according to the ministry of defense.

Once the city has been encircled, US intelligence believes that Russian special forces would move in and seize an airport – most likely Sikorsky or Boryspil – from which a far bigger force of up to 10,000 paratroopers will be flown in to assault the capital.

The paratroopers’ mission would be to enter the city, locate Zelensky, his ministers, and parliamentarians, and force them to sign a peace deal handing control of the country back to Russia or a Moscow-backed puppet regime, effectively ending the war without Putin’s ground forces having to go to the trouble of seizing and occupying the entire country.

On the first day of the invasion, it appears that the Russians almost pulled off the plan when 20 attack helicopters landed an elite team of troops at Antonov Airport, 15 miles north of Kyiv, where they spent the day battling.

Overnight, however, Ukrainian national guard soldiers retook the landing strip, scattering the remaining Russian assaults into the surrounding countryside.

‘FIFPRO commends the sanctions that have targeted the individuals and corporations that allow the Putin government and its assault on the rule of law,’ the world players’ union said in a statement released on Friday in response to the Russian invasion.

‘Football must now follow the lead of democratic governments in reviewing and severing any links that jeopardize our industry’s fundamental foundations.’

‘FIFPRO stands with the people of Ukraine, and we are presently seeking assurances and help from international football authorities to ensure the safety of professional players in the country.’

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