Russia stripped of UEFA Champions League soccer finals, World Cup skiing events after Ukraine invasion

·1 min read
2021 UEFA finals in Germany
2021 UEFA finals in Germany Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) said Friday that it has pulled its flagship Champions League final match out of St. Petersburg, Russia, and moved it to Paris. "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 this "time of unparalleled crisis," UEFA said.

The May 28 championship game, the biggest club soccer match in the world, will now be held at the Stade de France, which also hosted the 2006 final. EUFA had chosen St. Petersburg's Gazprom Arena, named after the Russian state-owned oil giant, for the 2021 finals in 2019, but that season was postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gazprom is a top UEFA sponsor, and a member of its executive committee, Alexander Dyukov, is CEO of a Gazprom subsidiary, The Associated Press reports.

Also on Friday, the International Ski Federation (FIS) canceled or moved five World Cup skiing events scheduled to take place in Russia this season, citing both "the safety of all participants" "the integrity of the World Cup." FIS said "participants are already on site at the two World Cup events that were planned for this weekend," and the federation "is working closely with the involved stakeholders to ensure their quick return back home."

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