Fixtures chaos

UEFA moves CL final as Scotland await qualifier verdict

Scotland v Denmark
Scotland are due to host Ukraine next month (pic: SNS Group)

Russian city St Petersburg has lost the Champions League final following the invasion of Ukraine and the showpiece match will now be played in Paris.

UEFA confirmed at a meeting this morning that the Gazprom Arena would no longer host the game on 28 May.

Wembley had been seen as a candidate but it is hosting the English play-off finals that weekend. West Ham’s London stadium and Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane were other possible venues.

Football and Formula One will see further changes to venues, while tie-ups with big corporations are already being affected by the conflict.

Scotland are due to host Ukraine for a World Cup qualifier on 24 March, while Russia’s qualifier with Poland in Moscow on the same day is also in doubt.

The SFA is seeking a solution in a tight international football calendar with the winner set to face a final against Austria or Wales just days later.

Ukraine’s domestic football league was set to resume this weekend after a winter break, but will remain suspended. Fifteen of the most recent 23-man Ukraine squad play in their homeland.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino says football’s world governing body has “a duty to look into the footballing consequences of what is happening.

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“Fifa condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts. Violence is never a solution and Fifa calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue,” said Infantino.

A joint statement was issued by the Polish, Czech and Swedish FAs last night telling Fifa that their play-off matches should not be played in Russia, asking for “immediate action” for alternative locations.

Fifa president Infantino said the letter will be looked at “as a matter of urgency” and added that it can “take a decision at any time”.

Manchester United were already reviewing their lucrative sponsorship deal with Aeroflot before the government’s sanction and are now expected to terminate the agreement. Aeroflot has often flown the United players to away matches but was not involved in this week’s trip to Madrid.

Uefa’s executive committee will consider the future of major sponsor Gazprom. One of the committee members is Alexander Dyukov, the president of Zenit St Petersburg and the Russian Football Union, who is also chief executive of Gazprom.

German Bundesliga club Schalke said the logo of Gazprom would be removed from the club’s shirts.

Formula One

The Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for 25 September, will not be part of the Formula One season this year.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said yesterday he would boycott the Sochi Grand Prix and called for F1 chiefs to axe it from its 2022 calendar as he became the first driver to speak out. 

There has been speculation that the race would switch to Turkey but this has not been confirmed.

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