Russia is in danger of losing major sporting events as its deteriorating ties with the western bloc have finally entered the sports arena as well.
UEFA, the governing body for European Football, is reportedly considering moving the Champions League final from St Petersburg in the wake of Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine.
The final of the premier footballing competition is currently scheduled to take place at the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg on May 28th.
European football’s governing body is under pressure to stop Russia from hosting the event after Russian troops marched into two rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine.
According to multiple reports, Wembley is being lined up as the new venue for the final.
However, UEFA released a statement on Tuesday denying this was the case.
“UEFA is constantly and closely monitoring the situation. At present, there are no plans to change the venue,” read a statement.
UEFA has already taken steps this season to avoid potential conflict, with Russian and Ukrainian clubs kept apart from each other in draws for European football.
British prime minister Boris Johnson said it is “inconceivable that major international football tournaments can take place in Russia after… the invasion of a sovereign country.”
Another event that can suffer from raising tensions is Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix. There are growing calls to cancel this year’s event which takes place on 25th September, three months after the UEFA Champions League final.
The Russian Grand Prix joined the F1 calendar in October 2014, eight months after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which also led to sanctions against the country.
This year’s Russian Grand Prix is due to be the last at the Sochi Autodrom before the event moves to the Igora Drive circuit outside St Petersburg.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, whose team is sponsored by Russian fertilizer producer Uralkali, said this month he was prepared to “deal with” the consequences of any sanctions which could affect them.