European football chiefs Uefa say there are no plans to move the Champions League final from St Petersburg despite Russia invading Ukraine.
The final of club football’s most prestigious competition is due to take place at the Gazprom Arena in the Russian city on 22 May.
“Uefa is constantly and closely monitoring the situation,” the governing body said. “At present, there are no plans to change the venue.”
President Vladimir Putin effectively began the invasion on Monday when he sent Russia troops into the disputed regions of Donetsk and Luhansk on “peacekeeping” grounds.
The UK government’s Cobra committee was meeting this morning to discuss a response. Health secretary Sajid Javid called it “a very dark day in Europe”.
St Petersburg was initially awarded the 2021 Champions League final but disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic pushed it back a year.
Russia and Ukraine are both scheduled to play home internationals next month as part of the qualifying process for this year’s Qatar World Cup.
Javid added: “It’s clear from what we have already seen and found out today that Russia’s President Putin has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity.
“We’ve seen that he’s recognised these breakaway eastern regions in Ukraine and we can already tell he’s sent in tanks and troops, so I think from that you can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun.
“We’ve always preferred dialogue and still continue to do so but it’s clear from President Putin’s actions that he has chosen confrontation over dialogue.”