- After Russia opened war on Ukraine with an unprovoked invasion, UEFA held an emergency meeting about moving the Champions League final out of Russia
- While some might brush this off as insignificant, it is actually a very costly penalty to the economy of St. Petersburg to lose the UCL final
- Read more SOCCER articles right here
The news cycle is moving a mile a minute after Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine overnight on Wednesday and started an unprovoked war that’s been condemned by the entire world. The United States and other global powers are bringing the harshest economic sanctions ever against Russia and within Europe, UEFA met on Thursday morning to discuss moving the Champions League Final.
Moving a soccer game might seem trivial to some, but the economic impact of hosting a Champions League Final is MASSIVE and it is money that many wealthy Russians were banking on being injected into the St. Petersburg economy.
When And Where Was The Champions League Final In Russia Supposed To Be?
The 2021/22 Champions League Final was set to be held on May 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia at a stadium built and financed by Gazprom, a massive Russian energy company. They built the stadium ahead of the 2018 World Cup and Gazprom is actually a massive UEFA sponsor and has been since 2012. It remains to be seen if they’ll be able to maintain that sponsorship after global sanctions come raining down in Russia but we’ll learn more about that soon.
UEFA and Gazprom are tied so closely together that Gazprom’s chairman Alexander Dyukov was actually named to UEFA’s Executive Board back in 2021, according to the New York Times. After an emergency meeting by UEFA the decision was made to move the Champions League Final but another city has yet to be named.
What Will This Cost Russia, And How Much Will Another Economy Benefit?
I questioned if I should even write this article because I didn’t want to sound tone-deaf about Russia launching an unprovoked war and full-scale invasion in the middle of the night on another European country. But I thought it was worthwhile to mention the economic impact of the Champions League Final that was immediately taken away from Russia and will be awarded to another European city.
A study by Sports Value found the city that hosts the Champions League Final receives an economic impact of € 50 million, or about $55 million USD. The total economic impact of the Champions League is estimated at € 3.6 billion.
Another study that assessed the economic impact of the recent Champions League Final in Portugal found that it injected 80 million Euros into the local economy.
Gazprom the company that built the stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia where the final was set to be held is also the sponsor of the German team Schalke. As of today, the Gazprom logo will be removed from Shalke jerseys and a Gazprom employee was removed from the “supervisory board of the Gelsenkirchen-based club after being a target of U.S. sanctions” according to a report in the Associated Press.
There’s no indication of where UEFA will choose to move the Champions League Final at this point but the NYT report mentions Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Istanbul as possible destinations for the $55 million economic impact injection from tourism.