Russia-Ukraine crisis impact on football: Live news updates on Champions League, World Cup, Roman Abramovich and more – The Athletic

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Hello and welcome to The Athletic’s live coverage of today’s football news, after Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday.

The conflict has already had repercussions in the sporting world with UEFA, European football’s governing body, moving this season’s Champions League final away from Saint Petersburg in Russia.

Elsewhere, there is doubt over future World Cup qualification matches due to be staged in Russia, while in the United Kingdom, a Labour MP told parliament that the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was identified by the Home Office in 2019 as having links to the Russian state as well as to “corrupt activity and practices”. Abramovich has since handed over the 'care' of Chelsea to trustees.

Stay with us for live updates from this significant developing story.

(Photo: Emma Simpson – Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images)
February 27, 2022 at 4:45 PM EST
Speaking to Norwegian platform Viaplay Fotball after winning the Carabao Cup final, the Liverpool manager said: "I am nearly 55 and I don't understand how one adult person can put the whole world in such a situation. I know so many Ukrainian people. It is the war of one really bad man. We have to show solidarity.

"How it always is in dark times – you need moments when you can think about something else, and I'm glad we were able to do that tonight. It's a really tough one to take – we have to show solidarity with all sensibility."

(Photo: Getty Images)
February 27, 2022 at 4:39 PM EST
Ukrainian international Roman Yaremchuk is substituted on for Benfica and handed the captain's armband by Jan Vertonghen.

The entire stadium rises as Yaremchuk is moved to tears.
🙌 Momento arrepiante no Estádio da Luz! 🇺🇦#EPluribusUnum pic.twitter.com/FVOiyzons4
February 27, 2022 at 4:09 PM EST
He managed Ukraine until last summer, and Genoa until earlier this year.
Andriy Shevchenko at the anti-war protest in London today with plenty of other Ukrainians pic.twitter.com/EN7WTvqEtp
February 27, 2022 at 3:34 PM EST
The football associations of Poland and Sweden have reiterated their refusal to play World Cup qualifiers against Russia, despite FIFA taking measures against the country after the invasion of Ukraine.

In a letter to the governing body, the Polish FA has said that “as a football association, we refuse to participate in play-off matches in which the Russian national team appears”.

On Sunday evening, FIFA ruled that Russia will not be able to play at home and the team must compete under the name "Football Union of Russia" (RFU). There will be no flags or anthems allowed.

Full story here.

(Photo: Mikolaj Barbanell/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
February 27, 2022 at 2:38 PM EST
FIFA, football's world governing body, has imposed measures on Russia "to reiterate its condemnation of the use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine".

Russia will not be able to be play at home and the team must compete under the name "Football Union of Russia" (RFU). There will be no flags or anthems allowed.

They have also not ruled out "a potential exclusion from competitions", should the conflict escalate.

The decision was made in co-ordination with UEFA, European football's governing body, FIFA said.

Full story here.

(Photo: Harold Cunningham/FIFA)
February 27, 2022 at 1:13 PM EST
They ask for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be banned from international sport, including the upcoming Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Global Athlete has been asked by the Ukrainian Athletes to release this open letter to the #IOC and #IPC.

Olympians and Paralympians that would like to add your name to this letter please email: [email protected]@heraskevych pic.twitter.com/50FQof35ON
February 27, 2022 at 12:34 PM EST
The Czech Republic FA have said its national team will not play Russia should both teams meet in the World Cup play-offs.

Russia are scheduled to play Poland on March 24 in Moscow, with the winner of that slated to play Czech Republic or Sweden on March 29 for the chance to reach the finals in Qatar.

Both Poland and Sweden confirmed on Saturday that they also would refuse to play Russia. To read the full story, click here.
February 27, 2022 at 11:43 AM EST
Blue and yellow colours have flooded Wembley stadium as the teams head out onto the pitch for the Carabao Cup final.

Captains Jordan Henderson and Cesar Azpilicueta placed blue and yellow wreaths on the pitch, "football stands together" was shown on the screens and a minute's applause took place prior to the England national anthem.
February 27, 2022 at 10:39 AM EST
Kick-off in the Carabao Cup final is at 4.30pm.

You can follow that game live here.

(Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

February 27, 2022 at 9:46 AM EST
What happens if Abramovich is sanctioned?

There are some — who may or may not have just spoken to the club — who believe that if the unthinkable happens and Abramovich is sanctioned, Chelsea will be completely fine.

That is because a) they are a UK-registered company that has nothing to do with Russia b) they are a business that earned more than £400 million last season, with cash in the bank and more coming in every month from broadcasters, commercial partners and the turnstiles and c) they are now run by a charity. So what on earth could go wrong?

But then there are others — who may or may not have studied the UK’s sanctions laws — who wonder how a company wholly owned by a sanctioned individual could possibly function.

Full analysis below.
GO FURTHER
Explained: Why Roman Abramovich has handed over the ‘care’ of Chelsea – and what it really means
February 27, 2022 at 9:07 AM EST
A message that the Ukrainian international is in their thoughts. West Ham also warmed up with "Yarmolenko" on their shirts.
#WHUFC show their support for Ukrainian team-mate Andriy Yarmolenko 💖🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/Nb4C7zn7J7
February 27, 2022 at 9:03 AM EST
Winger Andriy Yarmolenko has been granted compassionate leave.

Wolves also warmed up in 'No To War' t-shirts.

(Photo: Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)
💙💛 pic.twitter.com/WFmv5SwXlR
February 27, 2022 at 8:15 AM EST
Speaking to Le Parisien, FFF president Noel Le Graet has said: "The world of sport, and especially football, cannot remain neutral. I certainly would not oppose the explusion of Russia".

(Photo: Alex Livesey – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
February 27, 2022 at 7:09 AM EST
The Czech Republic FA have said its national team will not play Russia should both teams meet in the World Cup play-offs.

Russia are scheduled to play Poland on March 24 in Moscow, with the winner of that slated to play Czech Republic or Sweden on March 29 for the chance to reach the finals in Qatar.

Both Poland and Sweden confirmed on Saturday that they also would refuse to play Russia.

To read the full story, click here.
February 27, 2022 at 5:45 AM EST
On Saturday evening, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said he is “giving trustees of Chelsea's charitable foundation the stewardship and care” of the Premier League club.

He will remain as Chelsea’s owner, but will not be involved in any decision making at Stamford Bridge for the time being.

Click below to read more on what it means for Abramovich and Chelsea.

GO FURTHER
Explained: Why Roman Abramovich has handed over the ‘care’ of Chelsea – and what it really means
February 27, 2022 at 4:44 AM EST
Following yesterday's statement on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich handing over the 'care' of the club, Chelsea have, this morning, provided a statement on the conflict in Ukraine.

The statement read: "The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace."
Club statement on the conflict in Ukraine.
February 27, 2022 at 4:08 AM EST
Paris Saint-Germain hosted Saint-Etienne last night. Both teams came together before kick-off to show support for those in Ukraine.

Peace for all 🕊️ pic.twitter.com/pbBkrEYfJK
February 26, 2022 at 4:43 PM EST
The Donetsk club have not been able to play at their home stadium since 2014 due to the conflict, playing instead in Lviv, close to the Polish border.
🇺🇦 Thanks for your support, @mancity! 🧡#Україна #Ukraine #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/zwWemFdx44
February 26, 2022 at 4:12 PM EST
His Real Madrid teammate, Andriy Lunin, is the only Ukrainian in La Liga.
important victory, however, you see once again how unimportant football is. I would never have believed that such a thing is still possible today… my thoughts are with all the innocent victims of this war and those who are currently living in big fear. pic.twitter.com/2J1HfHDDrZ
February 26, 2022 at 3:49 PM EST
From The Athletic's Katie Whyatt, at Valley Parade today.
#bcafc goalkeeper @RichODonnell23 speaks to representatives from @Uki_Bantams at half time as Bradford and Mansfield show their support for Ukraine pic.twitter.com/eVbJvLzlgq

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