World sporting bodies have begun to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, a move that has sparked worldwide condemnation. The European football governing body, Uefa, on Friday announced that this year’s Champions League final would not be held at the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg and would take place in Paris instead.
The Champions League final is scheduled to take place on 28 May this year.
The Uefa, according to the BBC, is also considering ending its ties with Russian energy giant Gazprom, which has been a title sponsor of Champions League for several years by paying £30m each year.
Elsewhere, the Formula One governing body, the FIA, too has decided to cancel Russia’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, which is scheduled to be held in Sochi in September.
The decision was taken soon after four-time champion Sebastian Vettel said that he would not race in Russia if the race went ahead. The German driver had said, “I should not go, I will not go. It is wrong to race in the country.”
This assumes significance given importance of Russian Grand Prix for Vladimir Putin, who had played a key role in starting this sporting event in Russia in 2014. Putin has a palace in Sochi, the venue of the Russian Grand Prix. This was expected to shift to St Petersburg, Putin’s hometown, from next year. But its future is uncertain now in light of Putin’s decision to invade a soveriegn nation.
Meanwhile, English footbal club Manchester United have terminated their sponsorship deal with Russia’s national airline Aeroflot, which has been the team’s official carrier sunce 2013.
The team did not use Aeroflot to travel to play Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last week.
The move followed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to ban Aeroflot from operating in the country.