UEFA are set to strip Saint Petersburg of the hosting rights for 2022 Champions League final, sources have told ESPN, after calling an extraordinary meeting of its executive committee following Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Thursday.
The Krestovsky Stadium, a host venue for the 2018 World Cup, was due to stage the Champions League final on May 28 after initially being awarded the game in 2021 before it was moved back a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.”
World leaders decried Russia’s actions, and UEFA are now prepared to act on their decision to stage this season’s Champions League final in Saint Petersburg.
UEFA said in a statement: “Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the UEFA president has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee for 10 a.m. CET [4 a.m. ET] on Friday 25 February, in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions.
“Further communication will be made after the meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee.”
Sources have told ESPN that alternative venues are being considered for the final, with Wembley Stadium in London not in contention due to being booked for the EFL playoffs on the same date.
But with Russia now facing global condemnation for its actions against Ukraine, sources have told ESPN it is inevitable that the Champions League final will be moved.
UEFA are also likely to discuss the ongoing involvement of Russian teams in their club competitions during Friday’s meeting.
UEFA added later on Thursday: “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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN that FIFA are monitoring the situation around next month’s World Cup playoffs with Russia scheduled face to Poland in Moscow.
Ukraine are also due to play in the World Cup playoffs, scheduled to face Scotland on March 24 at Hampden Park.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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