UEFA and FIFA are ‘monitoring the situation’ in light of escalating Russia-Ukraine crisis

Saint Petersburg is set to host the UEFA Champions League final – the biggest game in European men’s club football – on Saturday 28 May.

Krestovsky Stadium, which is sponsored by Russian state-owned Gazprom, has previously hosted matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2020.

It was originally planned to hold last year’s flagship event, but that was pushed back to 2022 after Istanbul missed out on hosting the event in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Travel restrictions related to Covid-19 in Turkey subsequently forced UEFA to move last year’s final to Portugal for the second consecutive year.

“Regarding the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final in Saint Petersburg, we would like to inform you that UEFA is continuously monitoring the situation closely and that any decision would be taken in due course if necessary. UEFA has no further comment at this time,” a UEFA spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Wednesday England teams would have to boycott May’s final – if they succeed – following Russia’s actions.

“If I was in an English team I would boycott it,” said Truss told British LBC radio. “Personally, I wouldn’t want to play in a football match in St. Petersburg considering what the Putin regime is doing.”

Four English teams – Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool – are among the 16 teams remaining in this year’s competition.

Russian and Ukrainian teams in UEFA and FIFA competitions

There are no more Ukrainian teams in any of UEFA’s major men’s or women’s club competitions, while there are no Russian clubs left in the men’s or women’s UEFA Champions League or the men’s UEFA Conference League .

Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg are, however, one of two remaining teams in the men’s UEFA Europa League competition. They are set to play the second leg of their round of 16 knockout tie against Real Betis in Spain on Thursday. Zenit are currently trailing 3-2 in the draw.

Spartak Moscow have already qualified for the Round of 16 by finishing top of their group in the group stages.

UEFA also announced that it had taken the decision to postpone the UEFA Youth League Round of 16 match between Dynamo Kyiv and Sporting Lisbon, which was due to be played in Kyiv on March 2.

The match is now due to take place a week later on March 9, with UEFA adding that it “is in contact with both clubs for any further decision”.

On the international stage, Russia are set to host Poland in a men’s semi-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on March 24. The match is scheduled to take place at the VTB Arena in Moscow.

The winner of that encounter would then face either Sweden or the Czech Republic at home on March 29 for a place in the November final.

Ukraine are also in the playoffs. He is due to face Scotland in Glasgow on March 24 in the semi-finals and, if he were victorious, he would then be absent again in Wales or Austria on March 29 to secure a place in Qatar.

FIFA told CNN it is “monitoring the situation”.

Manchester City and Ukraine star Oleksandr Zinchenko took to social media on Tuesday to express his support for Ukrainians amid escalating tensions with Russia.

Write on InstagramZinchenko, who has 48 international caps to his name, said: “The entire civilized world is worried about the situation in my country. I cannot stand back and [not] get my message across. The country in which I was born and raised. A country whose colors I defend on the international sports scene. A country that we try to glorify and develop. A country whose borders must remain intact.

“My country belongs to the Ukrainians and no one can ever take it over. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine.”

Russia and Ukraine are also due to play their next round of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifiers in April.

Russia will face away matches in Montenegro and Malta on April 7 and 12, respectively, while Ukraine are set to host Scotland and Hungary in Kyiv on April 8 and 12, respectively.

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