UEFA Champions League final to be moved from St. Petersburg to Paris

There have been other reactions from athletes and sports organizations worldwide to the ongoing crisis, with many condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The UEFA Respect banner.  (photo credit: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU)
The UEFA Respect banner.
(photo credit: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU)

UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) has moved this year's Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, European soccer's governing body said in a statement on Friday.

The game was originally supposed to be held in at the Krestovsky Stadium, but the organization has moved the location of the final due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Read more on the Ukraine-Russia War:

The governing body thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his "personal support and commitment" in taking on the final.

The organization initially tweeted at 1:12 p.m. Israel time that "the UEFA president has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions."

There have been other reactions from athletes and sports organizations worldwide to the ongoing crisis, with many condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

 Ukrainians shout slogans, wave Ukrainian national and EU flags, hold banners as they protest outside Russian embassy after Moscow's decision to formally recognise two Russian-backed regions of eastern Ukraine as independent in central Kyiv, Ukraine, February 22, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS) Ukrainians shout slogans, wave Ukrainian national and EU flags, hold banners as they protest outside Russian embassy after Moscow's decision to formally recognise two Russian-backed regions of eastern Ukraine as independent in central Kyiv, Ukraine, February 22, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS)

Manor Solomon, an Israeli soccer player who plays for Israel's national team, also plays for the Ukrainian team FC Shakhtar Donetsk, based in the city where much of the Russian-Ukraine conflict is taking place. Solomon and his teammates have been instructed to stay in their homes, where he states that "the situation is frustrating, but he is calm," according to N12.

He has reportedly also heard explosions near where he is based. There is a chance that later he will vacate with his team to the city of Lviv, the N12 report continues.

Ukrainian-Israeli Olympian athlete Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, who resides in Israel and represents the country in long and triple jumps, expressed fear for her parents, who live in Kyiv. "They are right in the heart of the fighting zone and have nowhere to run. I am very afraid and think about them all day. They updated that they are fine but are not optimistic," she said.

The German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has announced the removal of their Gazprom logo, which is from their shirts. Gazprom is a Russian majority state-owned energy corporation based in Saint Petersburg.

Ukrainian judoka Daria Bilodid wrote from Kyiv, "I got up at 6 in the morning from the shooting in Kyiv. I have no words. I am very scared and pray for my family and my country." Bilodid won silver at the 2021 Judo Grand Slam Tel Aviv and bronze in the 2020 Summer Olympics, defeating the Israeli judoka Shira Rishony in the latter.

Ukrainian soccer player Oleksandr Zinchenko, who plays for Manchester City FC, stated that “my country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it.” He also attacked Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating that he wishes that the Russian leader "dies," sources reported on Thursday. Zinchenko plays for the Ukrainian national team for international games.

The Kremlin on Friday said it regretted UEFA's decision to move this year's Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris, saying the city would have made a good host for a "festival of football."

European soccer's governing body also said the home games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams competing in UEFA competitions would be played at neutral venues "until further notice."

Reuters contributed to this report.