Breaking: Russia incurs more losses as UEFA moves Champions League final to France



UEFA trophy

The 2022 Champions League final will be played in Paris after Russia was stripped of the match following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

The final of Europe’s most prestigious club competition was due to be played in St Petersburg on 28 May.

Following a meeting on Friday, Uefa confirmed the match would not be held at the Gazprom Arena.

Instead the European football governing body has decided it will be staged at the Stade de France in Paris.

Uefa expressed “thanks and appreciation” to French President Emmanuel Macron for “his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis”.

It added: “Together with the French government, Uefa will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”

At Friday’s meeting, Uefa also ordered Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams to play their home matches away from the region.

Spartak Moscow are the only Russian team left in European club competition this season, having reached the Europa League last 16.

They will find out their opponents – with Scottish Premiership champions Rangers one of the clubs they could be paired with – when the draw takes place at 11:00 GMT.

Spartak, along with other Russian and Ukrainian sides, will “be required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice”, said Uefa.

Russia and Ukraine are both scheduled to play 2022 men’s World Cup play-off matches in March, with world governing body Fifa saying on Thursday it was monitoring the situation in the region.

Russia are due to host Poland in Moscow on 24 March, while Ukraine travel to Scotland on the same day.

In the statement announcing its decisions, Uefa did not mention its relationship with Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom.

Gazprom is one of Uefa’s major sponsors in a long-term deal worth about £30m, as well as holding the naming rights for St Petersburg’s 68,000-capacity stadium.

Gazprom is also the main sponsor of German club Schalke, who announced on Thursday the logo of the company would be removed from the club’s shirts.

Alex Phillips, a former Uefa executive and now an independent adviser to Fifa, said Uefa will have to “seriously revise who they accept sponsorships with”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “When I was at Uefa I was head of compliance and I wrote a series of regulations recommending that this sort of relationship should be, at the very least, out in the open and regulated.”