UEFA qualifies for Champions League final after Russia invades Ukraine; Poland will not travel to the World Cup qualifiers

UEFA called an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Committee on Friday to discuss the deepening The crisis between Russia and Ukraine. UEFA is preparing to move this season’s Champions League final on May 28, which was due to take place at Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium, after Russia escalated its campaign against its neighbor with a full-scale military attack on Ukraine. In the early hours of Thursday morning.

Missiles reportedly landed near several major Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kiev, further angering the international community. The United States is among those countries that have confirmed that they will impose sanctions on Russia, the regime of Vladimir Putin and its allies; Details of the US package will be announced later on Thursday. In such circumstances, it is inevitable that the venue for the European football final will move.

“Following the development of the situation between Russia and Ukraine in the past 24 hours, the UEFA President decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee on Friday 25 February at 10:00 CET, in order to assess the situation and take all decisions,” a statement said. Necessary.” “Further contacts will be made after the UEFA Executive Committee meeting.”

In addition to, UEFA issued a statement To condemn the Russian military invasion and solidarity with the population of Ukraine.

UEFA shares the international community’s grave concern about the development of the security situation in Europe and strongly condemns Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine.

As the governing body of European football, UEFA works tirelessly to develop and promote football in accordance with common European values ​​such as peace and respect for human rights, in the spirit of the Olympic Charter. We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people.

We are dealing with this situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency. Decisions will be made by the UEFA Executive Committee and announced tomorrow.

CBS Sports sources confirm that UEFA is making contingency plans for alternative venues, although a specific alternative may not be selected until later in the Champions League when it becomes clear which countries are likely to take part in the final. London has been cited as a potential host city, and the 60,000-capacity West Ham stadium has hinted that he would be interested in holding the final, which has involved five English teams in the past four years. Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium are currently in use on the day of the final match.

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The Champions League final is not the only thing that needs to be addressed. Questions have also been raised about UEFA’s involvement with Gazprom. The state-owned, majority-owned energy company has sponsored the Champions League since 2012, and the company’s advertising has become a staple in broadcasting matches since then. It is reported that the transaction value is 45 million dollars a year.

Politicians in the European Parliament have called for this union to end, saying in an open letter: “We invite you to stop considering Saint Petersburg and other Russian cities as venues for international football matches and to choose it as a first and very urgent step as an alternative venue for the Champions League final on May 28, 2022.

“In addition, we appeal to you to convene a special meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee, to end cooperation with Gazprom as a UEFA sponsor, and to consider imposing sanctions on Russian officials complicit in violating international law.”

German club Schalke 04 said it will remove Gazprom from its shirt sponsor list.

Football-wise, Russia is set to host Poland in the World Cup qualifiers on March 24, and if it wins that match, it will also play at home for the winner of the match between Sweden and the Czech Republic. The football associations of the three countries say they will not travel to Russia.

A joint statement saidBased on the current alarming development of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including the security situation, the Polish Football Associations (PZPN), Sweden (SvFF) and the Czech Republic (FAR) express their consistent position that the elimination matches will qualify for No The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled for March 24 and 29, 2022, should be held in the territory of the Russian Federation.

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“The signatories of this appeal do not consider traveling to Russia and playing football matches there. The military escalation we are observing has consequences and much less safety for our national football teams and official delegations. Therefore, we expect FIFA and UEFA to react immediately and offer alternative solutions on venues in which play-off matches can be played.

FIFA issued its own statement later on Thursday that said decisions on the status of the qualifiers would be taken “in due course”. Speaking after a meeting of the FIFA Council, President Gianni Infantino expressed hope that the dispute would be “resolved” in time for the matches within one month.

“Obviously the situation that we have discovered this morning is very tragic and very worrying and it is our duty to look into this matter seriously for analysis,” he said. “We received this letter shortly before the meeting and will consider it as a matter of urgency.

“The first match is in a month from now and of course we hope that this whole situation will be resolved before that time – long before that, as soon as possible. We want to believe very strongly in that. But we have a body in place, the office, that can make a decision in whatever. Time. We are analyzing the situation and we will make the decision when we have to take it.”

The country’s participation in this summer’s European Women’s Championship and the men’s Nations League matches will also be up for discussion. Real Betis is scheduled to play Russia’s Zenit St Petersburg in a European League qualifier on Thursday.

Zenit and Spartak Moscow, who will be in the round of 16 of the Europa League, are the last remaining Russian representatives in the European competition this season. No Ukrainian team has qualified for the final stages of the three UEFA competitions. The Ukrainian domestic league was due to resume this weekend but was suspended in light of the conflict.

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Ukraine international player Yaroslav Rakitsky plays with Zenit, posting a picture of his country’s flag on Instagram with the caption “I am Ukrainian.” Meanwhile, several Brazilian footballers gathered at a hotel where they asked for updates. Brazil has the largest number of foreign representatives in the Ukrainian league with 30.

Marlon, one of the 13 Brazilians on the Shakhtar Donetsk list, said: “We are here asking for help through this video due to the lack of fuel in the city, closed borders, closed airspace, and there is no way for us to do so. He left. We are asking for a lot of support from the government of Brazil. , so you can help us. I hope you can help us by promoting this video so that it can reach as many people as possible.”

Shakhtar left their city in 2014 when the conflict with Russia began in eastern Ukraine. They have played at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev since 2020. Their manager, Roberto De Zerbe, said he woke up to the sound of bombs but did not heed Italian advice to leave the country.

“I will stay in my room,” De Zerbe told Sportalia. “Today is not a good day.” “I was waiting for the Federation to stop the season for this to happen. However, I did not move. I am here to play sports and I could not turn my back on the fans.

“There are 13 Brazilian players here and our staff. We could have gone home, but we preferred to wait. Last night we woke up to the noise of explosions.” Ukrainian airspace is now closed to civilian flights, which means De Zerbi and millions of others may not be able to leave the capital.

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