Every step taken by Russia and the rest of the world regarding Ukraine, every word of the heads of state is now the subject of great discussion. If another war breaks out around Ukraine, it will affect the whole world. Football – or why stay out!
Today, after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech, skepticism about Russia’s plans to surround Ukraine has increased. Meanwhile, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries are expressing concern over Russia’s role. The effect of this potential war and the ongoing tensions on human life is a big consideration, but football is more than that!
However, according to British media reports, Russia’s attack on Ukraine will have an impact on football as well. The venue of this year’s Champions League final may change.
According to the plan, this year’s Champions League final is to be held in Russia. The venue for the final is set for May 26 at the Krestovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg. The stadium, built on the occasion of the 2018 World Cup, is popularly known as Gazprom Arena due to its sponsorship.
But after Putin’s speech today, there were fears about the venue of the final.
In his speech, Putin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk, two regions in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists, as independent states. He later ordered the army to be sent there. However, Putin said the troops were being sent as “peacekeepers”. But Russia’s opposition is taking a different approach to sending troops.
Tensions are rising, with fears mounting over the Champions League final in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to The Guardian, UEFA, Europe’s governing body for football, has so far planned to hold the final in St. Petersburg, but that could change at any time.
‘UEFA is closely monitoring the situation on a regular basis. “There are no plans to change the venue at this time,” the Guardian quoted UEFA as saying.
Zenit played his first round match against Betis in the last 16 of the Europa League last week at the Gazprom Arena.
Zenit played his first round match against Betis in the last 16 of the Europa League last week at the Gazprom Arena.Photo: Reuters
Another English daily, the Daily Star, reported earlier this month that the German news agency UEFA had told DEPA that they had no plans to change the venue, but that tensions could change.
The Daily Star also gave an idea of where the venue for the Champions League final could be taken away from St. Petersburg. According to their report, Wembley, England’s ‘football pilgrimage’, is being proposed as the modified venue, especially if the two English teams advance to the final.
Russian tanks on the streets of Donetsk, Ukraine
Russian tanks on the streets of Donetsk, UkraineIn the first round
The last 16 matches of the Champions League are being played at the moment, there are four teams – Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea.
No Russian team survives in the Champions League. Why only the Champions League, Zenit is the only representative of Russia in all the European tournaments at the moment. However, according to the Guardian, the trade deal could have a major impact on UEFA’s decision.
UEFA has a big deal with Gazprom, the sponsor of Zenit’s stadium!
Nord Stream 2 gas line owned by Gazprom
Nord Stream 2 gas line owned by GazpromIn the first round
UEFA’s business relationship with the Russian gas company Gazprom is very old, Gazprom said last year that they would extend the scope of the agreement with UEFA and bring tournaments like Euro, Champions League, Europa League under that agreement.
But today, following Putin’s latest move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on his country to cut off supplies to the Gazprom-owned Nordstream 2 gas line.
Of course, European football has seen the change of venue of the Champions League before. The venue has changed in the last two seasons, but due to complications with coronavirus and related restrictions.