Boris Johnson opposes Champions League final in Russia due to situation in Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out on Tuesday that Russia, which will host the next Champions League final on May 28 in Saint Petersburg, could host international soccer competitions after Moscow recognized pro-Russian breakaway regions in eastern Russia. Ukraine.

"It is absolutely vital at this critical moment that President Putin understands that what he is doing will be a disaster for Russia."Johnson declared after announcing in the British Parliament the sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs.

"It is clear that, given the world’s response to what he has already done in Donbas (eastern Ukraine), he is going to find himself with a poorer Russia as a result of the sanctions that the world is going to impose on him."threatened.

"A more isolated Russia, a Russia with a pariah status"added a Johnson who hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin "back off the cliff" and do not proceed to a "full invasion" from Ukraine.

Referring to the sports issue, Johnson’s threat was clear: "No possibility of holding football tournaments in a Russia that invades sovereign countries".

Russia, which organized the 2018 World Cup, should host the Champions League final on May 28 in Saint Petersburg, at the Gazprom Arena, a stadium that also hosted several matches, including one of the quarterfinals. , from Eurocopa-2020 held in June-July 2021 after being postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

"We will not allow President Putin to exploit these events on the international scene to legitimize his illegal invasion of Ukraine."Minister for Sports and Culture Nadine Dorries tweeted.

On Tuesday morning, Johnson’s spokesman already pointed out UEFA’s responsibility as the organizer of the Champions League.

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Contacted by AFP, the European body assured that it continues "closely and continuously the situation" and that he will take action "in due course, if necessary".

UEFA already had to relocate the last two finals of the Champions League, its star tournament, to Lisbon in 2020 and Porto in 2021, as a result of the pandemic, which prevented the organization of this match in Istanbul, the initially designated venue in those two editions.

Four of the last six Champions League finalists were English clubs, as were two of the last three winners, Chelsea (2021) and Liverpool (2019).

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