Truss tells English teams to boycott Champions League final over Russia crisis

23 February 2022, 08:27 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 10:40

By Emma Soteriou

English teams should boycott the Champions League final over Russia's potential invasion in Ukraine, Liz Truss has told LBC.

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The final is set to take place in St Petersburg in May, but Uefa could strip Russia of the right to stage the showpiece game over the Ukrainian crisis.

Speaking on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Liz Truss said: "If I were on an English team, I would boycott it."

She added: "I would personally not want to be playing in a football match in St Petersburg given what the Putin regime is doing."

Four English teams - Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool - are all among the final 16 teams in the prestigious tournament.

Read more: US orders armed forces to Baltic states as 10,000 Russian troops enter Ukraine
Read more:
Champions League final 'to be moved from St Petersburg' as Russia hit with sanctions

Chelsea won the Champions League title in 2021.
Chelsea won the Champions League title in 2021. Picture: Getty

Chelsea beat Manchester City in the final last year, which took place in Portugal.

Liverpool previously won the league in 2019 - meaning English teams have been successful in the latter stages of the competition.

Reaffirming her comments, Ms Truss agreed with Nick that she would urge any team's manager that was successful in the tournament to consider a boycott.

It came after Nick asked Ms Truss if the final should go ahead in Russia.

"No," she said.

It followed comments from a former Football Association (FA) chair, who told LBC that it is "utterly inconceivable" that the Champions League should go ahead in Russia.

Lord David Triesman told Nick earlier on the show: "I must say that I strongly endorse your view that it is utterly inconceivable that this game could go ahead in the current circumstances.

"There are already travel restrictions and rerouting of aircrafts and so on and there is the fundamental issue behind it about appearing just to go along with what an appalling dictatorship is prepared to do."

Uefa previously said in a statement that it was "constantly and closely monitoring the situation and any decision would be made in due course if necessary".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty on Tuesday that "London stands ready to host the Champions League Final".

He added: "Hosting the Champions League final is a privilege.

"The impression we would give if Uefa did have the final in St Petersburg is rewarding this sort of aggressive actions from Putin's Russia."

Formula 1 fans have also called for a boycott of the Russian Grand Prix, which is set to take place in Sochi in September, as the war threat escalates.

Some 150,000 Russian troops are said to be lining Ukraine's border, with President Vladimir Putin having recently recognised two regions as republics.

As a mass invasion nears closer, Boris Johnson yesterday announced sanctions being introduced, with five banks and three high-flying individuals coming under new economic measures.

Ms Truss said it was the "toughest package of sanctions that we've ever put on Russia", warning that the UK "will inflict more pain in the event of a full-scale invasion".

President Joe Biden has since ordered more US troops to Baltic NATO states too, saying the world has heard "the full extent of Vladimir Putin's twisted rewrite of history".