Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

UEFA acted with 'decisiveness' not usually associated with sporting authorities over Russian invasion

In stripping Russia of the Champions League Final, European football’s governing body has acted with the kind of speed, clarity and decisiveness not often associated with sporting authorities.

UEFA’s move to switch football’s greatest club showpiece on 28 May from St Petersburg to Paris came little more than 24 hours after Vladimir Putin’s missiles began landing in Ukraine.

In doing so, despite the risk to its lucrative sponsorship deal with the Russian state energy company Gazprom, it has arguably shown the way for other sporting organisations pondering their response to the invasion.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Advertisement


5:39

Why UEFA had to move the CL Final

Ukraine invasion latest updates: Russian troops enter Kyiv as residents told to ‘make petrol bombs and neutralise the occupier’

Gazprom has been a UEFA sponsor for a decade, and spends about £33m a year backing the Champions League, European Championships and Nations League.

Its chief executive Alexander Dyukov, who is also president of the Russian Football Union, was a minority voice on the UEFA executive committee which voted to scrap only the second Russian staging of a Champions League final.

UEFA also ordered Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice.

More on Formula 1

Key developments:
• Russian invasion reaches Kyiv
• President tells his troops ‘you are all we have’ as he accuses Europe of not doing enough
• UK flights banned from Russia in retaliation after British sanctions slapped on Aeroflot

Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group H - Russia v Cyprus - Gazprom Arena, Saint Petersburg, Russia - November 11, 2021 General view during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
Image:
The final will no longer be held at the Gazprom Arena, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Formula One’s rulers – acting somewhat against type – have been equally swift in announcing September’s Grand Prix will not go ahead in Sochi.

They have brazened out years of flak over racing in venues such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

But, evidently, they have recognised this is different.

They had come under instant pressure from their own drivers.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said if the race went ahead, he would not be there. The German, influential as head of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, was “shocked” by what he had seen from Ukraine, adding, “It’s wrong to race there. I will not go.”

Additionally, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison had urged his country’s top driver Daniel Ricciardo to stay away.

Morrison has also ordered Australian skiers to boycott a World Cup event in Yaroslav this weekend.

This will become a theme. Sportspeople keen to keep competing in Russia, or unsure how to respond, will be told by governments to stay away.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

F1 cancel Russian Grand Prix

For now it will be for individuals and for sports organisations to make the tough calls.

Can world swimming body FINA keep its World Short-Course Championship in Kazan? Will the Winter Paralympics allow Russian competitors on the start lines in Beijing from next Friday?

The German club Schalke blazed a trail yesterday by removing Gazprom from its shirts, the second tier club risking vital income but keeping its morals intact.

Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

In a less commercially significant move, but nonetheless sending the right message, Manchester United have followed suit by dropping the Russian airline Aeroflot as a sponsor.

The Football Association has made it clear players, clubs and fans can protest against the invasion without fear of punishment.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has well and truly begun – here are four ways it could end

Normal regulations forbid displays that could be seen as political.

But as the FA has recognised, these are not normal times.

Comments

Latest Tweets

Advertisement

You May Also Like

Business

The controversial Russian businessman Viktor Baturin, well-known for his years-long counterstanding with his wealthy sister Elena, widow of Moscow ex-mayor Yuri Luzhkov, is likely...

European Union

On April 9, 2022 Dimash Qudaibergen’s first solo concert in Germany took place in Düsseldorf. The colossal energy and the atmosphere of unity did...

United Kingdom

A rare £100 bank note given to a charity shop has been sold for £140,000 at auction. Oxfam volunteer worker Paul Wyman spotted the...

United Kingdom

The Watneys Party Seven is making a comeback. The ubiquitous 70s beer was a bland fizzing bitter ridiculed by many. The drink’s insipidness helped...