ATHENS: The 2018 Champions League final will be held in Kiev despite Ukraine’s battle with Russian-backed separatist rebels, UEFA’s executive committee decided Thursday, officials said.
The final will be held only a few weeks before rival Russia stages the World Cup.
Ukraine, which was co-host of the 2012 Euros with Poland, submitted its official bid to stage the final at the 70,000-seat Olympic stadium earlier this year.
“We have been making sure the security all stands up and the decision was taken with confidence,” a UEFA executive member said after the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Ukraine will host the UEFA Champions League final on May 26 2018,” said a statement released after the first executive meeting under new UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin who won an election on Wednesday.
Conflict between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country erupted in April 2014.
A further worry is Ukraine’s track record on racism, with UEFA having fined and imposed a three-match stadium ban on Dynamo Kiev after their fans’ racist behaviour, notably when four black men were assaulted in the Olympic Stadium during a Champions League match against Chelsea last season.
The Estonian capital of Tallin will hold the UEFA Super Cup final on August 18, 2018.
The venue for the 2018 Europa League final will be decided later, UEFA said.
UEFA said its executive had “confirmed” that acting general secretary Theodore Theodoridis would take the job permanently after Ceferin’s election.
Theodoridis took over the post on an interim basis after Gianni Infantino left to become FIFA president in February.