UEFA will no longer stage this season’s Champions League final in St Petersburg after Russia attacked Ukraine, The Associated Press has learned.
An extraordinary meeting of UEFA’s executive committee will be held on Friday to discuss the geopolitical crisis and when officials are expected to confirm the withdrawal of Russia’s May 28 showpiece match, a person with knowledge of the process said on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions.
UEFA have confirmed that a meeting is due to take place at 09:00 GMT on Friday.
“Following developments in the situation between Russia and Ukraine over the past 24 hours, the UEFA President has decided to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee…. in order to assess the situation and take all necessary decisions,” UEFA said in a statement.
The British government and supporter groups had asked UEFA not to play the game in St Petersburg, where the stadium is sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
“On this tragic day, our thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine, our friends, colleagues, members and their loved ones,” the Fans Supporters Europe group tweeted on Thursday. “Given the events unfolding, we expect an imminent announcement from UEFA on the relocation of the Champions League final.”
The Ukrainian Premier League suspended operations on Thursday due to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to impose martial law. The league is on a two-month winter break and was due to resume on Friday. He gave no expected date to restart.
The International Paralympic Committee said it was in talks with sports officials in Ukraine and Russia as their teams prepare to travel to China for the start of the Paralympic Games next week.
“The IPC is in dialogue with the Ukrainian and Russian Paralympic Committees ahead of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games,” the IPC said in an emailed statement. “As a politically neutral organization, the IPC remains focused on the upcoming Games rather than the current situation.”
Russia’s name, flag and anthem are already barred from the Paralympic Games from March 4-13 in Beijing due to previous doping disputes. His team is to compete under the name RPC, short for Russian Paralympic Committee.