- The Russian president instructed Chelsea FC owner Abramovich to pull his club out of the Super League.
- This is due to Gazprom, a Russian company's sponsorship ties with the Champions League.
- Moreover, the 2022 UCL final is scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg, with Putin wanting to see Zenit St Petersburg in the 'best competition'.
While fan backlash was touted as the main reason for this withdrawal, that might not be the full story.
According to reliable German source Süddeutesche Zeitung, Russian president Vladimir Putin asked his countryman and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich to withdraw from the competition.
There are 2 reasons for this - the first being that Gazprom, a Russian based gas company, sponsors the Champions League.
UEFA threatened to ban the Super League clubs from the UCL and the loss of so many major clubs would have been a big dent for the competition.
Secondly, the 2022 UCL final is scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg.
Last but not least, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Russia's best team for quite some time, needs to be 'in the best competition', and the Champions League's prestige would have taken a major hit with the forming of the Super League.