Due to the escalating advances by President Putin and his military into Ukraine, various sanctions have been placed on Russia. Losing out on the lucrative prospect of hosting the Champions League Final in front of a full house of 68,000 at the Gazprom Arena, or its more renowned name as the Krestovsky Stadium, will be one of these sanctions.
The final will now be played at the Stade de France in Paris to 81,000 people. Originally, the final was meant to be played at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, but due to the coronavirus postponements of 2020, all final hosts would be rolled back a year.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin called an extraordinary meeting to discuss whether Russia should be allowed to host the final. On the 25th February, UEFA confirmed that the 2022 Champions League Final would be moved to Paris at the Stade de France from St Petersburg. This is the first time that the Champions League final will be held at the venue for over 15 years, where the Stade de France hosted the 2006 final. The day will be a bitter memory for Arsenal fans, as their lead was cancelled out by Samuel Eto’o, running out as eventual losers. This year, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all have the opportunity to play at this final, as they are all currently halfway through their round of 16 knockout ties in the tournament. Manchester City have the most recent memories of this stadium, as they came out 2-0 losers to Paris Saint Germain earlier this season in the group stages. The last English side to win at the Stade de France was Manchester United in last season’s group stage, as they won 2-1, thanks to a late Marcus Rashford winner. The season before that, it was Rashford again who scored a late third goal to see Manchester United progress into the quarter finals against the side from Paris, so perhaps it is written in the stars for United to return back to this famous arena this year.
Various other sports, such as Formula 1, have also taken the initiative to cancel their sporting events in Russia, as the Grand Prix in Sochi this year has been axed. Poland have told FIFA that they refuse to play Russia in next month’s World Cup play offs, seeing the Czech Republic and Sweden also announce that they would not play Russia, as the winner who progressed from their tie would play the winner from Poland and Russia’s. Famous talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan has furthermore urged UEFA to ‘boot’ Russian teams out of European competitions. The famous FC Schalke 04 from Germany have stripped their shirt of their leading sponsor Gazprom and Manchester United have severed ties with Russian airline, Aeroflot, amidst the invasion of Ukraine.