- The Washington Times
Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Union of European Football Associations is meeting Friday to discuss moving the 2022 Champions League final out of Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin made the announcement of the “extraordinary meeting” on Thursday. According to multiple reports, the meeting will result in the removal of the championship out of Russia. ESPN’s Mark Ogden was first to report the news.

The Champions League final is currently scheduled to be at Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg on May 28. 

“UEFA shares the international community’s significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine,” reads a UEFA statement. “As the governing body of European football, UEFA is working tirelessly to develop and promote football according to common European values such as peace and respect for human rights, in the spirit of the Olympic Charter. We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people.

“We are dealing with this situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency. Decisions will be taken by the UEFA Executive Committee and announced tomorrow.”

The meeting comes a few days after the British government pushed for the game to be taken out of Russia. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday discussed his concerns about allowing the final to stay in Russia

“It’s absolutely vital in this critical moment that [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin understands that what he is doing is going to be a disaster for Russia,” Johnson told the House of Commons.

“He is going to end up with … a Russia that is more isolated, a Russia that has pariah status, no chance of holding football tournaments in a Russia that invades sovereign countries.”

ESPN also reported that FIFA is monitoring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as it pertains to the World Cup playoffs, with Russia scheduled to play Poland in Moscow in March.

Also on Thursday, German soccer team Schalke removed the logo of a Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom from its jerseys in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement ended a sponsorship that dates back to 2006. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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