Uefa will move this season’s Champions League final from St Petersburg, with an extraordinary meeting called for Friday morning to confirm Russia is being stripped of the showpiece match.
The executive committee will meet to discuss the consequences for football of the military invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with the aim of the meeting “to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions”.
Uefa has come under increasing pressure to act after the escalation of tensions this week and said in a statement on Thursday that it strongly condemned Russia’s invasion, was “resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine” and “ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people”. The governing body added: “We are dealing with this situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency.”
The British government has called for the match, scheduled for Saturday 28 May, to be moved and on Thursday members of the European parliament wrote to Uefa calling for an extraordinary meeting, to discuss not only moving the final but terminating sponsorship arrangements with the Russian gas company Gazprom.
Schalke are one of two clubs, alongside Zenit St Petersburg, sponsored by Gazprom and on Thursday they announced they would no longer be carrying the company’s branding on their shirts. “Following recent developments, FC Schalke 04 have decided to remove the logo of main sponsor Gazprom from the club’s shirts,” the German club said. “It will be replaced by lettering reading ‘Schalke 04’ instead.”
Two Russian teams remain active in this season’s Europa League, with Zenit’s game at Real Betis confirmed to go ahead on Thursday night. The Spanish side lead the tie 3-2 from the first leg. Spartak Moscow have qualified for the last 16 and the draw for that stage of the tournament is due to take place at midday CET on Friday, after the Uefa executive committee meeting.
The Ukrainian FA has contacted Fifa and Uefa to call for Russia to be…