‘No plans’ to change UEFA Champions League final location despite Russian invasion of Ukraine
On Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into separatist regions of Ukraine to fulfil ‘peacekeeping’ duties, in what is largely seen as a precursor to a larger invasion of a nation that he does not recognise as having a right to exist.
The UK, USA and rest of ‘the West’ have already begun hitting back, promising economic sanctions and condemning the actions, and while football takes a back seat in these situations, there are still issues surrounding the conflict for UEFA to monitor.
Russian and Ukrainian sides are already kept apart in all UEFA draws, meaning that they cannot be drawn against one another, but there is another problem looming.
This comes as the final of the Champions League this season is set to be played in Saint Petersburg, and perhaps more importantly, the Gazprom Arena.
Gazprom, a Russian oil company, are the main sponsors of the Champions League, which makes the situation a difficult one to navigate for the European football federation.
UEFA not planning on any changes
After the announcement by Russia, there were rumours that UEFA were set to move the final to Wembley in order to extricate themselves from their precarious position.
However, in an official statement, they revealed that this was not yet the case, saying:
‘UEFA is constantly and closely monitoring the situation. At present, there are no plans to change the venue.’
Should tensions escalate, it will be a test of sponsorship loyalty vs player safety for UEFA, which could raise more than a few feathers.
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