St Petersburg Champions League final: UEFA plan change amid Ukraine and Russia crisis, where final could move

With the Russia-Ukraine crisis now at ‘full-scale war’ UEFA must look to host Champions League final elsewhere.

The UEFA Champions League Final is currently set to take place in St Petersburg, Russia, however UEFA are now highly likely to strip the Krestovsky Gazprom Stadium of the privilege of hosting the match.

Russia has launched a major military invasion on Ukraine despite several countries, including the UK, introducing sanctions against Russia in response to the former fear and threat of invasion.

With Russia now accused of starting a full-scale war by Ukraine, UEFA would have no choice but to locate the final somewhere else, with Wembley topping the charts to take it on.

There are four Premier League Clubs still competing in the Champions League - a league sponsored by the state-owned Russian energy firm, Gazprom.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea (a team owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, are all in the final 16 of the competition with the hopes of making the final, wherever it may be.

Where would the Champions League be held?

If UEFA move the final, which is becoming an increasingly likely inevitability, the obvious option would be Wembley.

However the Champions League final is scheduled for 28 May, the same date as the EFL League Two play-off final also due to be held at Wembley.

Chelsea won the 2021 Champions League
Chelsea won the 2021 Champions League
Chelsea won the 2021 Champions League

Not only is Wembley due to host the Champions League final in 2024, but UEFA may show reluctance about sending the two finalist teams to London after the violence and disorder which was witnessed at the European Championship final last summer.

If London were to host the final, alternative options could include Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but this would once again cause confusion as the rugby league’s Challenge Cup final is currently also scheduled for the same day.

Additionally, after Spurs’ initial jump at signing up to the European Super League last year would not have sat well with UEFA.

UEFA will look to other major European cities to host the final as they look to find an infrastructure able to host around 100,000 fans.

What has been said?

Previous to the recent news that Russia have officially invaded, UEFA said: “UEFA is constantly and closely monitoring the situation and any decision would be made in due course if necessary. UEFA has no further comments to make at present.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that: “London stands ready to host the Champions League final” and the event should not be hosted by Russia.

“Hosting the Champions League final is a privilege. The impression we would give if UEFA did have the final in St Petersburg is rewarding this sort of aggressive actions from Putin’s Russia.”

The foreign secretary had spoken on Wednesday 23 February 2022 saying that if any English club were to reach the final of the Champions League and it were to be held in Russia they should boycott it.

Speaking to LBC, Liz Truss said: “Yes, If I was them I would boycott it. I would personally not want to be playing in a football match in St Petersburg given what the Putin regime is doing.”

Which other Sports would be affected by Russia’s decision?

Formula 1 is set to have a Grand Prix in Sochi in September. At the moment, the FIA are still hopeful of going ahead with the event.

Russia first joined the F1 calendar in October 2014, following their annexation of Crimea.

Russia’s football team are due to play Poland in the latest World Cup qualifier on 24 March and the Polish FA (PZPN) contacted FIFA in order to seek clarity: “Due to the tense political situation in Ukraine and the Russian Federation, as well as possible further escalation and the beginning of an armed conflict, the Polish football Association asked Fifa to urgently clarify the issues.”

Fifa are said to be monitoring the situation.

When is the Champions League final?

The Champions League final is currently scheduled to take place on Saturday 28 May 2022.

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