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Russian champions Zenit ‘to play’ crucial UEFA competition match

Zenit St. Petersburg’s game is set to go ahead while UEFA prepares for an extraordinary meeting over Russia’s hosting of the Champions League final

Reigning Russian Premier League champions Zenit St. Petersburg’s crucial Europa League match at Spanish side Real Betis will go ahead as scheduled on Thursday, according to reports amid uncertainty over whether tournament organizers UEFA will take action against Russia.

Russian league leaders Zenit start the play-off second leg 3-2 behind after a thriller in St. Petersburg a week ago, when the hosts recovered from conceding two early goals to make it 2-2 after 28 minutes.

Betis then scored again before the break to give themselves the advantage heading into the decider in Seville.

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The game will take place as scheduled according to the Russian broadcasters of the contest, Match TV.

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Gazprom Arena is due to hold the Champions League final. © Daniele Badolato / Juventus FC via Getty Images
UEFA calls emergency meeting amid claims Russia to lose Champions League final

The channel had earlier quoted club president Alexander Medvedev to have told fans to wait for official information on the match.

Medvedev is the Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of Russian energy company Gazprom, which is at the center of a campaign by German newspaper Bild.

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The outlet has faced accusations of hypocrisy after calling for German side Schalke to ‘cover up’ their sponsorship with Gazprom, whose logo is displayed on the front of their shirts.

UEFA has called an extraordinary meeting on Friday, when it will reportedly move the Champions League final – scheduled to be held at Zenit’s home on May 28 – to another country because of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

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© David S. Bustamante / Soccrates / Getty Images
Playing in Moscow ‘unthinkable’ – Swedish FA

Leaders including UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his foreign secretary, Liz Truss, have emphatically stated that the showpiece should not go ahead in Russia.

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Zenit could face issues over hosting future games in this season’s Europa League regardless of the decision over the Champions League final, with some teams voicing concerns over traveling to Russia.

The Swedish Football Association has called a potential World Cup play-off qualifier in Russia next month “unthinkable”.

Earlier in the week, Kamil Bortniczuk, the Polish Minister for Sports and Tourism, said that he wanted his country’s visit to Russia in the first round of World Cup qualifying play-offs, scheduled for March 24, to take place in a neutral setting.

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https://ift.tt/7FrYU2K 24, 2022 at 07:02PM
from RT – Daily news

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