Boycott Champions League final in Russia, Lizz Truss urges Premier League teams
Foreign Secretary's comments come as PM criticised for not enforcing more severe sanctions
English teams should boycott the Champions League final if they make it that far over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Liz Truss suggested on Wednesday.
The Foreign Secretary also said the final, set to take place in St Petersburg in May, should also not go ahead if Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to move troops into Ukrainian territory.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC, Truss said "If I was on an English team, I would boycott it."
— LBC (@LBC) February 23, 2022
She added: "I would personally not want to be playing in a football match in St Petersburg given what the Putin regime is doing."
Russian legislators on Tuesday approved a request by Putin for permission to use armed forces abroad. A day earlier, Moscow recognised the independence of Russian-backed rebel regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, and troops were deployed into the areas.
Putin said the troops will be "peacekeeping" in the regions, which it has backed since 2014. The US has branded the move an "invasion" and world leaders have begun enforcing sanctions against Russia.
Four English teams - Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool - are all among the final 16 teams in the Champions League.
Chelsea beat Manchester City in the final last year, which took place in Portugal and Liverpool previously won the league in 2019.
Truss also agreed with Ferrari that she would urge any team's manager that was successful in the tournament to consider a boycott.
Truss' comments follow those of a former Football Association (FA) chair, Lord David Triesman, who told LBC that it is "utterly inconceivable" that the Champions League should go ahead in Russia.
Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced asset freezes on five Russian banks and three high net worth individuals in a move criticised for not going far enough.
Ministers are now said to be preparing tougher sanctions, targeting UK-based oligarchs, high-tech exports, and sovereign debt, The Guardian reported.
- Ukraine crisis: Legislators approve Putin request to use armed force outside Russia
- Russian state TV is seriously claiming 'Prince Andrew and Queen want war in Ukraine'
- Boris Johnson compared to Winston Churchill amidst tensions with Russia
- Vladimir Putin warns Europe will be dragged into military conflict if Ukraine joins NATO