Russia stripped of sporting showcases


Champions League Final and F1 stripped from Russia Image: Formula One

In its special session held on February 25th, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Executive Committee decided, as was expected, to withdraw the 2022 Champions League Final from St. Petersburg in Russia. It will now take place in Paris instead.

The above move has been initiated to protest Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The ‘kicker’ stated that on February 24th, the UEFA strongly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and convened a special meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee on February 25th. In the meeting, St. Petersburg was officially removed from holding the 2022 Champions League Final. It has been moved to the 81,338-capacity Stade de France in Paris (France).

The 2022 UEFA Champions League Final will be the final match of the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League, the 67th season of Europe’s premier club football tournament organized by UEFA, and the 30th season since it was renamed from the European Champion Clubs’ Cup to the UEFA Champions League.

The Champions League final was due to be played at the 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 28th, 2022.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as well as Armenia, Israel and the Asian parts of some transcontinental countries. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

The ‘kicker’ further stated that this is the third year in a row that the Champions League Final is not taking place at the originally planned location. Due to the COVID clobber in Turkey, the UEFA had stopped Istanbul from hosting both the 2020 and 2021 editions. Instead, it was played in Lisbon and Porto in Portugal.

The Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich’s residence – the 75,024-capacity Allianz Arena – was supposed to hold the UEFA showcase in 2022. But now, it will be staging the same in 2025.

Russian Grand Prix canceled

The Formula 1 has confirmed it has canceled the Russian Grand Prix in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ‘Fox Sports’ stated that in a statement released late on the night of February 25th, the F1 said it was “watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock” and held extensive discussions before canceling the event.

Formula One is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.

The Russian Grand Prix is an annual motor racing event held at the 55,000-capacity Sochi Autodrom – a permanent circuit built around the Olympic Park in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia – as part of the Formula One World Championship. The race was first held briefly in the 1910s in Saint Petersburg of the Russian Empire.

The statement read, “The FIA F1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together. We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation. On the evening of February 25th, Formula 1, the FIA and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”

The ‘Fox Sports’ further stated that the Russian Grand Prix was due to be held in Sochi on September 25th.

Meanwhile, Haas Formula One team boss Guenther Steiner confirmed that his team’s Russian racer Nikita Mazepin faces an uncertain future as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mazepin had been signed last year as part of a title sponsorship deal involving Russian potash producer Uralkali, owned by his billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin.

Steiner told newsmen, “Yeah, it needs to be resolved. As I said before, not everything depends from us here. There is more than the F1 team involved, there are Governments involved, so I have no idea what is coming from that side.”

The cancellation comes after reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen (Belgian-Dutch race car driver) and former champion Sebastian Vettel (German motorsports racing driver) said on February 25th that it would be wrong for the Russian Grand Prix to go ahead and fiercely opposed Russia’s excesses on Ukraine.

Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, killing dozens of people in the early hours, according to the Ukrainian authorities.

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