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Paris to host UEFA Champions League final stripped from Saint Petersburg

PARIS (AFP) – Paris will host this season’s Champions League final after St Petersburg was stripped of the match due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UEFA announced yesterday.

The showpiece occasion of the European club season will be played at the Stade de France on May 28, European football’s governing body said after holding an emergency meeting in response to the crisis.

“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,” as tatement said.

“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.”

The final was supposed to be played at the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg, which already hosted several matches at last year’s European Championship and at the 2018 World Cup held in Russia.

UEFA made no reference to its relationship with Gazprom, the Russian energy giant that is a key sponsor of European football’s governing body.

However, UEFA did announce that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in international competitions must play home matches at neutral venues “until further notice”.

A Pantsir antiaircraft missile system stands on guard of the air space above Saint Petersburg stadium. PHOTO: AP
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