This is one of the indirect consequences of the invasion of Russian troops, Thursday, February 24, on Ukrainian soil. Many international sports federations are called upon to take measures and sanctions against Russia. Not all of them reacted, but athletes, clubs and local federations are raising their voices to demand answers.
UEFA calls emergency meeting
Place of the Champions League final, partnership with Gazprom and play-off matches for the World Cup in Russia, the agenda will be loaded, Friday, February 25, for the Executive Committee convened urgently by Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President. The Champions League final, scheduled for Saint Petersburg on May 28, is likely to be moved according to information from the Times and D’Associated Press.
In view of developments in the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the UEFA President is scheduling an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee for 10.00 a.m. (Paris time) on Friday 25 February, in order to take stock and make the necessary decisions.
— UEFA (@UEFAcom_fr) February 24, 2022
Regarding the play-off matches for the World Cup, the Polish federation which must travel to Russia on March 24 has requested the relocation of the match. This is also the case for the Czech Republic and Sweden, potential opponents of the Russians in the second round. These federations “express their firm position so that the play-offs are not played on Russian territory”, can we read in the joint press release.
OŚWIADCZENIE FEDERACJI PIŁARSKICH POLSKI, SZWECJI I CZECH. Więcej… https://t.co/fkNXQJIseH pic.twitter.com/Tc9o5POp02
— PZPN (@pzpn_pl) February 24, 2022
The Gazprom file is the thorniest. Main economic sponsor of UEFA, the Russian gas giant is everywhere, even in the Executive Committee with the presence of Alexander Dyukov, CEO of Gazprom Neft. A partnership that stains because of the strong relationship between Vladimir Putin and the gas supplier.
Schalke removes Gazprom from its shirts
At the heart of the turmoil, Gazprom has already experienced a first blow, Thursday, February 24. After 16 years of presence, the name of the Russian company will no longer appear on the white and blue jerseys of the Schalke club, based in Gelsenkirchen. A decision taken following the Russian invasion even though the historic German club, currently in the second division, had confirmed its partnership with the gas supplier earlier this week.
ℹ️ Following recent developments, FC Schalke 04 have decided to remove the logo of main sponsor GAZPROM from the club’s shirts. It will be replaced by lettering reading ‘Schalke 04’ instead.#S04 pic.twitter.com/9kpJLRzTQ7
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) February 24, 2022
Another consequence on the banks of the Ruhr, Matthias Warnig, the German CEO of the operating company of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, resigned from the supervisory board of Schalke 04. The businessman is targeted by sanctions decided on Wednesday by the United States.
Three matches postponed in the Euroleague
Leader of the regular season, Barcelona said in a statement that he would not travel to Saint Petersburg for a match scheduled for Friday against Zenit. The Euroleague has therefore decided to postpone this meeting as well as two other matches involving Russian teams, Bayern Munich-CSKA Moscow and Baskonia-Unics Kazan scheduled for Thursday.
Update on Regular Season Round 27 Games pic.twitter.com/SmD2W0Fcyt
—Turkish Airlines EuroLeague (@EuroLeague) February 24, 2022
The organization of the Euroleague must seize the file because Barcelona is also supposed to play in Moscow on Sunday. In addition, three Russian clubs are in the top 8 and therefore on track to qualify for the play-offs. New decisions are expected in the coming hours.
Formula 1 wonders about the Sochi Grand Prix
In a press conference, during the second day of pre-season testing, Sebastian Vettel indicated that he would not go to Russia to race if the Sochi Grand Prix, scheduled for September 25, was maintained. Max Verstappen followed suit, believing that there should be no races in countries at war. F1 management has announced that it will meet with the team managers on Thursday evening to discuss the situation.
—Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) February 24, 2022
The Uralkali Haas F1 Team is also singled out. The American team has used a Russian firm, close to power, as the main sponsor. Its influence is enormous with a single-seater in the colors of Russia and a consequent importance in the sporting choices, in particular that of the pilot Nikita Mazepin. Thursday, February 24, the team decided to withdraw the Russian colors from its single-seater for the third day of testing, Friday.