LONDON (AP) The British government led calls for the Champions League final to be taken off Russia by European football’s governing body on Tuesday to punish its deepening intervention in Ukraine.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson highlighted concerns about the showpiece men’s game being played in St. Petersburg on May 28 as he urged Russian President Vladimir Putin not to conduct a full invasion of Ukraine. Russia sparked an outcry by announcing on Monday that its recognition of independence for areas in eastern Ukraine extended to territory currently held by Ukrainian forces.
“It’s absolutely vital in this critical moment that President Putin understands that what he is doing is going to be a disaster for Russia,” Johnson told the House of Commons. “He is going to end up with … a Russia that is more isolated, a Russia that has pariah status, no chance of holding football tournaments in a Russia that invades sovereign countries.” UEFA provided no fresh comment on Tuesday after saying over the weekend that it was “constantly and closely monitoring the situation.”