British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have both said the 2022 final should not be held in St Petersburg.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ assertion that it would be “wrong” staging the 2022 Champions League final in St. Petersburg is a mistaken politicization of sport, the deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Physical Culture and Sports has suggested.
Truss echoed the views of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in calling on organizers UEFA to change the venue for May’s showpiece, adding that players would have to boycott a potential match in St Petersburg due to an operation announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Donbass.
Numerous reports suggest that UEFA are considering moving the game to another country.
“It seems to me that [Truss] rush things a bit” said Sergei Burlakov, speaking to RIA about the remarks made by Truss one day when she also took to Twitter to threaten “severe penalties” against Russia.
“As far as I know, English clubs are not yet in the Champions League final. Also, many [players] English football clubs are not British citizens.
“Finally, sport is out of politics. If all political decisions are reflected by the athletes, then soon sports competitions will no longer interest fans around the world.”
The showpiece match of European club football is due to take place at the Gazprom Arena, which has already hosted seven matches at the 2018 World Cup and seven matches at EURO 2020, on May 28.
“I think it’s not right at this stage, with what Russia is doing internationally, to have the final there,” he added. Truss told the BBC.
When asked if potential finalists, including Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, should boycott the match, she replied: “It’s a question for the team but if I was a player, which is highly unlikely, I certainly wouldn’t want to be a part of it.”
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Johnson said Russia had “no chance of organizing football tournaments” while the operation was in progress, the caller “inconceivable” that big football events could take place in the country.
Burlakov referred to the values of the Olympic Charter and the “struggle for peace”saying: “Russia wants the people of the [Donetsk Republic and Lugansk Republic] to watch the Champions League final not under fire, so we stood up for the brotherly people.
“But what Liz Truss wants, to call for a boycott of the final in St. Petersburg – she didn’t explain.”
UEFA says it’s “monitor the situation closely” between Russia and Ukraine.