The UEFA Champions League final 2022 will no longer be held at St Petersburg, Russia. According to the New York Times, the European football governing body voted for the final to be moved to Paris as punishment to Russia.
The game on the 28th of May was scheduled to be played at the St. Petersburg stadium built and financed by the Russian energy giant Gazprom. Instead, it would take place at the State de France in Saint-Denis.
This would be the first time France would be hosting the Champions League final since 2006. UEFA would also relocate every game, both club and country, that are supposed to be played in Russia or Ukraine, to other regions in Europe.
According to the New York times, UEFA had in recent days been lobbied extensively privately and publicly by British officials about moving the Champions League final to London. That idea was quickly rejected, however, for logistical reasons as well as unease about the game’s becoming a political tool for British lawmakers who have often used soccer to score points at home and abroad. Britain’s foreign secretary, for example, this week suggested British teams that should boycott the game if they qualified and it was not moved out of Russia.
Paris emerged as the top candidate to replace St. Petersburg because it had not hosted the game since 2006 and because France currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, one of the bloc’s key decision-making bodies.