SPORT: Football
UEFA relocates the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris after Russia invades Ukraine.

The match, which was due to take place on May 28, will now take place at the Stade de France.

This is the sec­ond time the final will be held at the French sta­di­um — the first hav­ing been 16 years ago when Barcelona beat Arsenal.

Euro­pean foot­ball chiefs had set the stage for a deci­sion on the cen­tre­piece, with Lon­don among one of the alter­na­tive venues.

But the scale of Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine has forced the issue, with UEFA acknowl­edg­ing that imme­di­ate action must be taken.

UEFA boss­es held inten­sive talks on Fri­day and came to the con­clu­sion that he should be moved.

And it will also increase the pres­sure on FIFA to act and kick Rus­sia out of their World Cup play-off with Poland, which is due to be played in Moscow on March 24.

Pol­ish FA chiefs have pre­vi­ous­ly expressed ‘con­cerns’ about being forced to play in Moscow after the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment con­demned Russ­ian aggression.

But it now looks impos­si­ble for the game to go as planned — and increas­ing­ly unlike­ly that oth­er nations will accept Rus­si­a’s con­tin­ued involve­ment in football.

This could see UEFA being asked to ban ALL Russ­ian club teams.

But UEFA are also under pres­sure to tear up their Cham­pi­ons League spon­sor­ship deal with Gazprom.

The cri­sis envelop­ing Europe now means that sport — and foot­ball in par­tic­u­lar — is a key play­er in the scenario.

Both Ger­many and Japan were barred from qual­i­fy­ing for the 1950 World Cup in the after­math of World War II.

And South Africa was kicked out of FIFA in 1961, spend­ing 35 years in the desert sanc­tion­ing the apartheid regime.

Ear­li­er this week, mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment wrote to UEFA boss Alek­sander Ceferin, telling him: “UEFA must act now”.

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