Alexander Dyukov, a Russian member of the UEFA executive committee, complained the decision was taken for “political reasons.” Dyukov also opposed UEFA ordering Russian clubs and national teams to play at neutral venues until further notice — a ruling also imposed on Ukrainian sides.
The invasion of Ukraine drew punitive measures across the sporting world on Friday when Russia was stripped of the Champions League final, with UEFA replacing St. Petersburg with Paris as host, and Formula One dropping this season’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, AP reports.
The International Olympic Committee also urged sports federations to move their events out of Russia or Belarus, which Moscow is using as a staging ground for its troops moving into Ukraine from the north.
A backlash against the embrace of Russian state-owned companies as sponsors in sports saw Manchester United drop Aeroflot’s commercial deal, with the Premier League club citing “events in Ukraine” after the airline was banned in Britain as part of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Although UEFA still has Gazprom as a Champions League sponsor, the final will no longer be staged at the St. Petersburg stadium named after the Russian state-owned energy firm. The climax to the European men’s football season will still be held on May 28 but now at the 80,000-seat Stade de France in the Saint-Denis suburb of the French capital after the decision by UEFA’s executive committee.
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