The organizing committee of the Champions League final, scheduled for Saint Petersburg, regretted this Friday the move of the event to Paris, justified by UEFA for “security reasons” after the military operation Russian in Ukraine. “We regret the transfer of the 2021/22 Champions League final. The organizing committee and the city authorities were ready for this great celebration of football at the highest level for tens of thousands of fans around the world “, said the entity.
After the relocation of the 2020 and 2021 finals, respectively to Lisbon and Porto, due to the covid-19 pandemic, which prevented them from being held in Istanbul, the challenge which will crown the European champion changes stage again.
“Preparations for the final were underway, all infrastructure and organizational matters were ready. Russia proved to be an impeccable organizer of gigantic international sporting events and a reliable partner for world federations. During several years of preparation for the Champions League final, we have met all the requests and all the wishes of UEFA”, reinforced the organization.
This reaction follows that of the Kremlin, which described this decision by UEFA as “regrettable”, believing that Saint Petersburg “could have offered ideal conditions for the holding of a football festival”.
A day after “strongly condemning the military invasion”, UEFA convened the executive committee to assess the situation in Ukraine, deciding to withdraw the organization of the “Champions” final, scheduled for May 28, from Russia.
The stadium that will host the final in Saint Petersburg is named after energy giant Gazprom, one of UEFA’s main sponsors since 2012.
The European football regulator also decided today that “clubs and national teams from Russia and Ukraine will play their home matches on neutral grounds until further notice”.
In the early hours of Thursday, Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine, with ground forces and bombing targets in several cities, which has already left at least half a hundred dead, including 10 civilians, on Ukrainian territory. , according to Kyiv.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine aims to ‘demilitarize and denazify’ its neighbor and that it is the only way for the country to defend itself from its ‘results’ and ‘relevance’ “.
The attack was immediately condemned by the international community as a whole and provoked emergency meetings of several governments, including that of Portugal, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU) and the UN Security Council.