The sports world has reacted to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and it does not appear that Russians will be seeing many sporting events in the near future.
On Friday, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced the removal of the upcoming Champions League final from St. Petersburg, Russia, choosing Paris as the replacement option.
“The UEFA Executive Committee decided to relocate the final of the 2021-22 UEFA Men’s Champions League from Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in Saint-Denis,” UEFA said in a statement.
“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,” the statement continued.
Also on Friday, Formula One announced it has canceled the Russian Grand Prix scheduled for September.
“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” F1 said in a statement. “On Thursday evening 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.”
Additionally, soccer federations for Sweden, Poland, and the Czech Republic said their teams will not travel to Russia for World Cup qualifiers.
“Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including the security situation, the Football Associations of Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic express their firm position that the playoff matches to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled for 24 and 29 March 2022, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation,” the federations said in a joint statement according to Fox News.
On Thursday, German soccer club Schalke announced that it would be removing its sponsor Gazprom — a Russian state-owned energy company — from the front of its jerseys.
Members of the European Parliament have also called on UEFA to sever its relationship with Gazprom, which is also a sponsor of the Champions League.
“We call on you to stop considering Saint Petersburg and other Russian cities as venues for international football competitions and to choose as a first and very urgent step an alternative venue for the Champions League final on May 28, 2022,” the group of politicians said in a letter.
“In addition, we appeal to you to convene a special meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee, to terminate cooperation with Gazprom as UEFA sponsor and to consider sanctions against individual Russian officials who are complicit in the violation of international law,” they added.
Thursday morning, Putin announced a “special military operation” into Ukraine, with the aim of “demilitarizing” and “denazifying” the country.
According to news reports, Russian forces continue their assault on multiple Ukrainian cities, including the capital city of Kyiv.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.