Sources told ESPN that the UEFA is about to snatch the hosting rights for the 2022 Champions League final from St. Petersburg, following an extraordinary meeting of its executive committee following Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Thursday.
The Krestovsky Stadium, the host venue for the 2018 World Cup, was scheduled to host the Champions League final on May 28. The game, originally scheduled for 2021, was moved back a year due to the Kovit-19 epidemic.
Russian troops launched a large-scale offensive in Ukraine on Thursday, with President Vladimir Putin setting aside international condemnation and sanctions and warning other nations that any attempt to intervene would have “unseen consequences.”
World leaders have condemned Russia’s actions, and the UEFA is now ready to act on its decision to host this season’s Champions League final in St. Petersburg.
UEFA said in a statement: “Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the UEFA President has called for an extraordinary working group meeting for the CET at 10 am. [4 a.m. ET] Friday, February 25, to assess the situation and make all necessary decisions.
“More will be communicated after the UEFA Executive Committee meeting.”
Sources told ESPN that alternative venues for the finals were being considered and that Wembley Stadium in London was not in contention as reservations for the EFL playoffs were being made on the same date.
But with Russia now facing global condemnation for their actions against Ukraine, sources told ESPN that the move to the Champions League final was inevitable.
During Friday’s meeting UEFA will have the opportunity to discuss the current involvement of Russian teams in its club matches.
Meanwhile, sources told ESPN that FIFA is monitoring the status of next month’s World Cup playoffs scheduled for Russia with Poland in Moscow.
Ukraine are also set to play in the World Cup playoffs scheduled to face Scotland on March 24 at Hampton Park.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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