UEFA Champions League final, scheduled for May 28 in St. Petersburg, was reportedly pulled from the Russian city in response to the attack on Ukraine. Several Russian and Ukrainian athletes, including Gary Kasparov, speak out against Russian aggression.
A meeting of the UEFA executive committee will confirm moving the Champions League final from Zenit St Petersburg’s Stadium. A group of European lawmaker wrote to UEFA asking it to change the venue and stop considering Russian cities for international competitions.
Not only Champions League, but multiple other sports events to be held in Russia, are now on the verge to be scrapped entirely. The International Ski Federation (FIS) issued a statement that as the athletes travelled directly from the Beijing Olympics to take part in Ski Cross and Aerials World Cup,therefore the events will go ahead as planned. But the Snowboard World Cup, scheduled to be held a little later, is listed as “cancelled” on the FIS website.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) condemned Russia’s attack, calling it a “breach of the Olympic truce” that runs from seven days before the Olympics to seven days after the Paralympics. Russia has now breached that truce three times in 14 years- in 2008, Russia invaded Georgia during the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, in 2014, Russia attacked Crimea six days after the closing ceremony of the Sochi Games and this time just after six days of the conclusion of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Russia has stormed Ukraine.
Former Chess World Champion Gary Kasparov strongly protested against the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine. In a tweet, Kasparov wrote, “This is the snake the free world nestled to its bosom, treating Putin as an ally, an equal, while he spread his corruption. Now he strikes again, proving that you cannot avoid battling evil, you can only delay it while the price goes up. Glory to Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko originally posted an Instagram story wishing the Russian President Vladimir Putin die a “painful suffering death” and called him a “creature”. The post was deleted, and Zinchenko alleged that Instagram took the post down. He again released a statement where he said, “The whole civilized world is worried about the situation in my country. I can’t stay away and try to convey my opinion. In the photo – my country. The country where I was born and raised. A country whose colors I defend in the international sports arena. A country that we try to glorify and develop. A country whose borders must remain inviolable. My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s international footballer Roman Yaremchuk removed his shirt to display the trident of Ukraine under his team’s jersey after he scored the equalizer for Benfica in a Champions League match.
In another development, German soccer club Schalke informed that it will be removing the logo of Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom from its jerseys.