Russia Stripped of Champions League Final for Ukraine Invasion
As earlier planned, Russia will no longer be the host to this year’s final Champion’s league. The final league was set to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, after Russia decided to move on with its invasion against Ukraine, the league has been moved to Paris. This decision is part of the punitive measures taken against Russia by the sporting world. Formula One has also canceled its Grand Prix that was set to held in Sochi, Russia.
Effect on major US sportsbooks
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a big impact on sportsbook betting in the US. By the evening of March 3, 2022, major sports betting sites in the US had ended wagering on sports events in Russia.
Some sports betting operators announced removal starting from March 4, 2022. Some of the companies have ceased any commercial relationships with sports companies based in Russia. The biggest impact will be felt on KHL, the leading hockey league in Russia. Other sports affected are table tennis, Major League Baseball, handball, soccer, badminton, volleyball, etc.
France is the new host
After the UEFA executive committee made the decision, the new host will now be France. The Champions league will be held in the luxurious 80 thousand-seat Stade de France in Paris. Due to the complicated Russia-Ukraine relationship, the decision had to be made quickly to avoid a crisis in early May 2022.
The UEFA executive committee wrote a note to the French government that read, “UEFA desires to convey its sincere appreciation to the French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal dedication and support to having European club football’s greatest highly regarded game moved to France at a period of unprecedented crisis.”
A postponement and a cancellation – a double loss to Russia
This is not the first time Russia is losing an important chance of hosting a major sports event. St. Petersburg Stadium was set to host the Champions League in 2021 after it was picked in 2019. However, after the pandemic affected the entire world, the league was postponed to 2022.
The pandemic affected every business sector, and gamblers had to play slots online. Russia had everything set for the 2022 league, but its invasion of its neighbor led to the cancellation. It was like a double loss to Russia after experiencing a postponement in 2021 and now a cancellation in 2022.
St. Petersburg stadium is named after Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company. The energy company is a major sponsor of both the European Championship and the Champions League. The CEO of a subsidiary of Gazprom, Mr. Alexander Dyukov, is one of the UEFA committee members.