Uncertainty about the Champions League final: England refuses to play it in Russia due to the conflict with Ukraine

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The final is scheduled for May 28, 2022 (Reuters)
The final is scheduled for May 28, 2022 (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out on Tuesday that Russia, host of the next final of the Champions Leaguecan host international football competitions after Moscow has recognized the pro-Russian separatist regions in the east of Ukraine. The big game is stipulated for eMay 28 on St. Petersburg.

“It is absolutely vital at this critical moment that President Putin understands that what he is doing will be a disaster for Russia.”declared Johnson after announcing in British Parliament sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs. “It is clear that, given the world’s response to what he has already done in Donbas (eastern Ukraine), he is going to find himself with a poorer Russia as a result of the sanctions that the world is going to impose on him,” he pointed.

While seeking to resolve the conflict diplomatically, tensions grow and the schedule for the Champions League final begins to look like a problem. Referring to the sports issue, Johnson was blunt: “No possibility of holding football tournaments in a Russia that invades sovereign countries”. We will have to wait now for a message from the UEFAthe entity that governs the contest, to find out if the venue will be changed or if it will be maintained despite the delicate situation that is currently being experienced.

Russia, which organized the World Cup 2018 of football must host the final May 28 on St. Petersburgat Gazprom Arenaa stadium that also hosted several matches, including one of the quarterfinals, of Euro 2020 held in June-July 2021 after being postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

Boris Johnson announced that the Champions League final should not be played in Russia (Reuters)
Boris Johnson announced that the Champions League final should not be played in Russia (Reuters)

“We will not allow President Putin to exploit these events on the international scene to legitimize his illegal invasion of Ukraine.”tweeted the British Minister for Sport and Culture, Nadine Dorries.

On Tuesday morning, Johnson’s spokesman already pointed out the responsibility of the UEFA as organizer of the Champions. Contacted by the news agency AFPthe European instance assured that it follows “closely and continuously the situation” and that it will take action “in due course, if necessary.”

The UEFA He already had to withdraw the last two finals of the Champions League to Istanbul, as a result of the pandemic, which prevented the organization in the capital of Turkey and taking them to Portugal: Lisboa 2020 and Porto 2021. Johnson’s concern is also linked to the fact that four of the last six finalists in the Champions were English clubs, as were two of the last three winners, Chelsea (2021) and Liverpool (2019). This year it is likely to happen again.

Vladimir Putin recognized on Monday the independence of the troubled Donetsk and Lugansk regions and hours later ordered the entry of the Russian Armed Forces into them as part of a “peacekeeping mission”, decisions harshly criticized by the majority. of the international community.

The Ukrainian government estimated on Monday at 14,000 deaths in the eight years of conflict in the east of the countrybefore adding that at least 30,000 people have been injured, while 1.5 million have been forced to flee their homes in Crimea and Donbas to escape Russian “occupation” of Ukraine’s territory.

With information from AFP

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