Europe's top soccer body, UEFA, has decided to move a major soccer final from Russia to France. Friday morning's decision followed UEFA's condemnation last night of the ongoing Russian invasion of.
The 2021/22 Men's Champions League final was to have been played in Saint Petersburg, but on Thursday night UEFA contacted French president Emmanuel Macron personally to see if the final could be switched to Paris. It will now be played at the Stade de France just outside the French capital. The date, May 28, remains unchanged.
UEFA announced the move following an extraordinary meeting of its executive committee Friday morning to discuss the security situation in Europe.
"UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football's most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis," it said in a statement.
The organization also pledged to help footballers in Ukraine: "Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement."
In addition, the soccer body decided that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in UEFA competitions "will be required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice."
The UEFA's executive committee has not ruled out further action, saying it will "remain on standby" to reassess the situation as it evolves and will adopt further decisions as necessary.
On Thursday, UEFA condemned the invasion and offered its support to Ukraine: "As the governing body of European football, UEFA is working tirelessly to develop and promote football according to common European values such as peace and respect for human rights, in the spirit of the Olympic Charter. We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people," it said.
It has been 16 years since the Champions League final was played at the Stade de France. The move could be good news for one of the league favorites, Paris Saint-Germain. PSG fans will be hoping the French team can go all the way on home soil.
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