Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick insists UEFA’s decision to move the Champions League final from St Petersburg was correct amid the ongoing “human disaster” in Ukraine.
Russia began an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday and the attack continued into Friday, with reports suggesting the fighting reached the capital of Kiev early in the afternoon.
Many countries around the world have imposed sanctions on Russia, as well as Russian entities and individuals in an attempt to disrupt the attack.
Similar measures have been taken in the sporting world, with United announcing Russian airline Aeroflot had been dropped from the club’s list of major sponsors, while UEFA stripped St Petersburg of host responsibilities for this season’s Champions League final.
The Russian Football Union (RFU) denounced the decision, accusing UEFA of failing to detach sport from politics as the showpiece event was moved to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris.
The 2021/22 #UCLfinal will move from Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in Saint-Denis.
The game will be played as initially scheduled on Saturday 28 May at 21:00 CET.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 25, 2022
But Rangnick, whose United side drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, believes it was the only decision.
“The situation is desperately sad,” said Rangnick, who worked in the Russian capital with Lokomotiv Moscow before joining United.
“I think everybody will think similarly about that, it’s just an incredible situation that we have a kind of war in Europe. And therefore, the decision UEFA took was inevitable and it was the right decision.
“I think everybody has the same opinion about what’s happening there. This is just a human disaster, what is happening there for all the people involved.
“Right now, as far as I can tell, the situation in Russia and in Moscow is still safe but this doesn’t change anything about the whole situation, which is desperately sad. When I still watch TV in the morning and the evening I still cannot believe what I see there.
“This is just a terrible situation and I very, very much hope the politicians all over the world can help to deescalate the situation and finish those kinds of things that are happening there.”
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