UEFA has moved its flagship soccer match, the Champions League final, from St. Petersburg to Paris, it announced Friday.
The decision to move the game out of Russia was made on Friday morning at an extraordinary meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee, held in response to “the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe.”
The game, on May 28, will now take place at the Stade de France, it said.
“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,” UEFA said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
The Russian and Ukrainian national teams will also play home games at neutral venues, the agency said.
Soccer in the spotlight: UEFA has come under pressure to go further in its response, with some calls across Europe to ban Russia from competitions and end its sponsorship deal with Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Wednesday that English teams should boycott May’s final — if they make it — as a result of Russia’s actions.
“If I was on an English team, I would boycott it,” Truss told British radio station LBC. “I would personally not want to be playing in a football match in St. Petersburg given what the Putin regime is doing.”
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