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UEFA Champions League Final 2021-22: Paris named the host replacing St. Petersburg after Russia invades Ukraine

UEFA Champions League 2021-22 final was originally scheduled to take place on May 28 after at St. Petersburg. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced UEFA to announce that Stade de France in Paris which has an 80,000-seating capacity, is set to be the host for the final match of the campaign. St. Petersburg was stripped of after Russia invaded Ukraine. The European body announced on Friday that the decision was taken by UEFA’s executive committee.

UEFA Champions League set to take place in Paris

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UEFA went on to issue a statement regarding the matter, “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.”

It further added that: “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 meeting also came to the conclusion that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams in UEFA competitions will have to play at neutral venues until further notice. The Stade de France last hosted the UEFA Champions League final 16 years ago, when Barcelona beat Arsenal in 2006 UEFA Champions League final.

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The 68,000-capacity St. Petersburg stadium was originally determined in 2019 to host the final in 2021. However, that did not happen after it was postponed by one year in the fallout of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The stadium is named for Russian state-owned energy firm Gazprom, which is also a top-tier UEFA sponsor of the Champions League and European Championship.

UEFA executive committee member Alexander Dyukov is the CEO of a Gazprom subsidiary. The move comes as Russian bombs and troops attacked Ukraine during the invasion’s first full day, and world leaders on Friday began to fine-tune a response meant to punish the Russian economy and its leaders, including President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

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