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Ukraine Conflict: Champions League final moved from Russia to Paris

The 2022 Champions League final will be played in Paris after Russia was stripped of the match following the nation's invasion of Ukraine.

The Gazprom Arena was built to stage games at the 2018 World Cup and also hosted matches at last year's delayed Euro 2020 (BBC Sport)

The final of Europe's most prestigious club competition was due to be played in St Petersburg, Russia on 28 May, but has been moved to the Stade de France in Paris instead.

UEFA thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for "his personal support and commitment" to have the game moved to France at "a time of unparalleled crisis".

It added:

"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."

This is the third consecutive year that the final has been relocated.

In 2020, it was switched from Istanbul to Lisbon because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Turkish city was set to host the game last year instead but it was again moved to Portugal - this time, Porto - because of the pandemic.

The decision to strip St Petersburg of the final has been criticised by Russian sporting and political officials.

Russian Football Union (RFU) president Alexander Dyukov, who serves on the UEFA executive committee and is the chief executive of Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Neft, said he "could not support" the move.

"We believe the decision was dictated by political reasons. The RFU has always adhered to the principle of sport is out of politics," he said.

At its emergency meeting on Friday, UEFA also ordered Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams to play their home matches away from the region.

Russian Football Union (RFU) president Alexander Dyukov (Photo: InsideTheGames)

Russia and Ukraine are both scheduled to play 2022 men's World Cup play-off matches in March, with world governing body FIFA saying on Thursday it was monitoring the situation in the region.

Russia is due to host Poland in Moscow on 24 March, while Ukraine travels to Scotland on the same day.

In the statement announcing its decisions, UEFA did not mention its long-term relationship with Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom.

UEFA is taking legal advice as it looks at ways to end the association, which began in 2012, after recognising the concerns around the company.

Other sporting bodies are also dealing with the fallout of the ongoing Ukraine crisis …

Meanwhile, Russia's Formula 1 Grand Prix, due to take place in Sochi in September, has been cancelled.

Formula 1 team Haas have removed their Russian-based sponsor from their equipment during the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

The company is owned by Dmitry Mazepin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin - Mazepin's son, Nikita, is one of Haas' drivers.

Nikita Mazepin's future racing for Haas is in doubt (Image: GETTY)

Premier League team Manchester United have also terminated their sponsorship deal with Russia's national airline Aeroflot.

Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev, soon to be the world's leading men's player, has voiced his disapproval with the actions of his country and declared that he wants to "promote peace all over the world". (BBC Sport)

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