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Ongoing: Major Sporting Events Moved From Russia


Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine after Russian military forces entered the country and explosions were heard in Kyiv, Odessa, and Kharkiv in Ukraine, the UEFA Champions League final scheduled to take place in St Petersburg in Russia on 28 May has been moved out of Russia.

The final has now been moved to Paris following an emergency executive meeting by UEFA.

Elsewhere, the latest announcements include Formula One (F1) cancelling the Russian Grand Prix scheduled to take place in Sochi on 25 September, following a meeting involving F1, the FIA, and the teams.

While a replacement host has not been named, early reports have suggested Turkey’s Istanbul Park will host the race due to the venue’s support of the competition in previous years due to COVID-19 disruptions.

FIFA has followed the lead of UEFA for global football by issuing a ban on international football matches in Russia, with the organisation saying the country’s flag and national anthem will be banned from matches outside of Russia.

Despite the ban, FIFA has confirmed Russia’s national football teams would still be permitted to compete as the Football Union of Russia, with games to be played with no fans in attendance and on ‘neutral territory’.

Several national teams have since announced they would refuse to face Russian teams in any scheduled international matches in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued a statement urging international sports federations to either move or cancel any sporting events planned in Russia or Belarus.

Elsewhere in global football, English Premier League side, Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, has relinquished ‘stewardship and care’ of the club to charity organisations, after UK politicians were investigating the Russian billionaire’s link to Russia’s political powers.

Abramovich will remain the owner of the club, despite calls from British MP’s to seize his assets and ban him from owning an English football club due to “his public association with corrupt activity and practices”.

The SportAccord executive committee also unanimously decided to cancel the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit scheduled for 15-20 May 2022 in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The decisions are among many of the currently discussed sporting events scheduled to take place in Russia which may be relocated, including the 2023 UEFA Super Cup final, the ATP Challenger event in Moscow scheduled for next week, the World Cup qualifier playoffs scheduled next month, and the World Athletics Indoor Championships.

In a statement regarding the Champions League final, UEFA said: “UEFA shares the international community’s significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine.”

“As the governing body of European football, UEFA is working tirelessly to develop and promote football according to common European values such as peace and respect for human rights, in the spirit of the Olympic Charter.

“We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people.

“We are dealing with this situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency.

“Decisions will be taken by the UEFA Executive Committee and announced tomorrow,” the statement read.

In the commercial partnership implications, Russian energy company, Gazprom, has been heavily involved in ongoing discussions, as the naming rights partner of the St Petersburg stadium which was set to host the Champions League final is a sponsor of the Champions League itself and several European football clubs.

German club, Schalke 04 have removed the brand’s logo from their jerseys despite having a 15-year partnership, while F1 team, Haas, has removed Russian potash producer, Uralkali, branding from its car, who is a title sponsor of the team and the son of Uralkali owner, Dmitry Mazepin, Nikita Mazepin, is a racer for the team.

Elsewhere, the International Olympic Committee has said it “strongly condemns the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government”, which was due to run until the end of the upcoming Paralympic Games, beginning on 4 March.

International Paralympic Committee president, Andrew Parsons, said: “This is a truly horrible situation, and we are greatly concerned about our National Paralympic Committee and Para athletes from Ukraine.”

“Our top priority right now is the safety and well-being of the Ukrainian delegation, with whom we are in regular dialogue,” Parsons said.

On the political front, world leaders have supported the boycotting of Russian sporting events, with Australia Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, saying: “All international sporting events in Russia should have their authorisations withdrawn from all international sporting bodies.”

With the situation ongoing, Ministry of Sport will continue to provide updates to the impacts on the sports industry as it happens across social media.

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