Following the news that Russia has invaded breakaway territotires in the Ukraine, Conrad Wiacek, Head of Sport Analysis at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on how this will impact the UEFA Champions League Final;
“UEFA now has a decision to make regarding the Champions League Final. The tournament’s final is due to take place at the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg on May 28, but, given the political uncertainty in the region and threats of sanctions from the UK, the EU and the US, Europe’s governing body for soccer will be under tremendous pressure to move the final.
“While UEFA will likely try to claim that sport and politics should not mix, one UEFA member infringing on the sovereignty of another will llikely add even greater pressure on the governing body to award the final to another city. Wembley hosted two Champions League finals in 2011 and 2013, generating over $10 million in profit for the governing body. However, with Gazprom’s sponsorship agreement with UEFA worth $40 million annually, moving the final away from St Petersburg could put one of UEFA’s highest-grossing (but most controversial) partnerships under threat.
“With the threat of clubs still looking at a Super League, UEFA can’t afford to see a high-profile sponsor walk away.”