Soccer: UK's Johnson says it's 'inconceivable' that Russia hosts Champions League final

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LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Russia should not be allowed to host soccer events such as the Champions League final after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

Britain said that it would discuss the location of the Champions League final, which is scheduled to take place in St Petersburg in May, with the relevant governing bodies.

Asked whether he would push for the Champions League final to be moved, Johnson told lawmakers: "I think it inconceivable that major international football tournaments can take place in Russia after... the invasion of a sovereign country."

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Nadine Dorries, Britain's minister for sport, said that Britain would raise the issue with soccer authorities.

"I have serious concerns about the sporting events due to be held in Russia, such as the Champions League Final, and will discuss with the relevant governing bodies," Dorries said in a tweet.

"We won’t allow President Putin to exploit events on the world stage to legitimise his illegal invasion of Ukraine."

European soccer governing body UEFA said it was closely monitoring the situation.

"In regards to 2022 UEFA Champions League final in St Petersburg, UEFA is constantly and closely monitoring the situation and any decision would be made in due course if necessary," UEFA told Reuters in a statement.

The 2021 final, which saw Chelsea defeat fellow English Premier League club Manchester City, was also set to be played in St Petersburg but eventually moved to Porto due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

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Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Manasi Pathak, writing by Alistair Smout Editing by William Schomberg and Jonathan Oatis

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