Russia – Ukraine War affects the soccer world: FIFA, UEFA and clubs respond

With a full on overt invasion of the Ukraine by Russian military forces, the soccer world especially in federations, associations and clubs in Europe are reacting and responding those ongoing events. UEFA quickly made a statement it would move the Champions League Final scheduled May 28 in St. Petersburg to another location in Europe. Wembley Stadium in London was said to be considered but the EFL Finals will be ongoing during that time and Stade de France in Paris was selected for the Champions League Final, earlier today.

UEFA released a statement Thursday saying it “shares the international community’s significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine.”

Just before kickoff in the Europa League match between Barcelona and Napoli, both clubs stood together with a banner that read “Stop War” in response to the military actions by Russia in the Ukraine.

Photo by FC Barcelona

Schalke 04 from Bundesliga in Germany has removed the sponsor logo from their kit tops. Gazprom, a Russian majority state-owned multinational energy corporation headquartered in the Lakhta Center in Saint Petersburg is the shirt sponsor and is also a major sponsor for the UEFA Champions League.

“Following recent developments, FC Schalke 04 have decided to remove the logo of main sponsor GAZPROM from the club’s shirts,” the club said in a statement Thursday.

It will be replaced by lettering reading Schalke 04. Gazprom has been a sponsor for Schalke 04 since 2007.

Photo from the Daily Mail

Actions in Ukraine has also affected FIFA World Cup Qualification as Poland has refused to travel to Moscow for a FIFA World Cup Qualifier scheduled on March 24th. Poland along with Sweden and Czech Republic made a joint statement:

“Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including the security situation, the Football Associations of Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic express their firm position that the playoff matches to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled for 24 and 29 March 2022, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation,” the statement read. 

Poland National Team. Photo by Getty Images

”The signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there. The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations.”

Ukraine Men’s National Team is also looking to qualify for spot in the World Cup with a match in Scotland on March 24 and if they win would face the winner of Wales v Austria. It appears at this time that the match between Ukraine and Scotland will go on as scheduled.

FIFA has not comment as of yet on the situation with the Russian Men’s National Team and the upcoming World Cup Qualifier on March 24th.

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