Paris will host the 2022 Champions League final after UEFA deprived Saint Petersburg of hosting rights for the showpiece game following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
Russian troops continue their advance on Ukraine on Friday, which drew widespread condemnation and sanctions from world leaders.
The decision to move the game to the Stade de France, which last hosted the Champions League final in 2006 when Barcelona beat Arsenal to lift the European Cup for the second time, was confirmed during a an extraordinary meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee on Friday.
The governing body said in a statement: “The UEFA Executive Committee held an extraordinary meeting today following the serious escalation of the security situation in Europe.
“The UEFA Executive Committee has decided to move the 2021-22 UEFA Men’s Champions League Final from Saint Petersburg to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The match will be played as originally scheduled on Saturday 28 May at 9:00 p.m. THIS. [3 p.m. ET].
“UEFA would like to express its thanks and gratitude to the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and his commitment to relocating the most prestigious match in European club football to France at a time of unprecedented crisis.
“Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-party efforts to ensure the rescue of football players and their families in Ukraine who face terrible human suffering, destruction and displacement.
The Kremlin said on Friday it regretted UEFA’s decision, saying the city would have made a good host for a “football festival”.
Krestovsky Stadium was previously scheduled to host the final on May 28 after initially winning the match in 2021, which was later postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Russian Football Federation (RFU) President Alexander Dyukov said in a press release“We believe that the decision to move the venue for the Champions League final was dictated by political reasons.
“The RFU has always adhered to the principle of ‘sport is out of politics’ and therefore cannot support this decision.”
The International Olympic Committee has urged sports federations to move or cancel events in Russia and Belarus, describing the invasion of Ukraine as a “violation of the Olympic truce”.
Despite the prospect of Paris Saint-Germain playing in the Champions League final this season, PSG will travel to Real Madrid for the second leg of the round of 16 next month with a 1-0 advantage from the first match at the Princes Park. — UEFA chose Paris as the venue due to the French capital’s ability to accommodate a potential influx of 100,000 traveling supporters.
UEFA also announced that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams participating in UEFA competitions will be required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice.
The move will impact Spartak Moscow, who are due to play in the Europa League round of 16 next month.