Ukraine begins football season in spite of war

Ukraine Begins Football Season In Spite Of War

Ukraine on Tuesday launched its new football season despite Russia’s ongoing invasion, in an apparent attempt to give a morale boost to the war-ravaged nation.

In the first match of the Ukrainian Premier League, Shakhtar Donetsk drew 0-0 with Metalist 1925 from Kharkiv at the Olympiysky stadium in Kyiv.

In an emotional pre-match ceremony, the players of both teams and the referees entered the pitch wrapped in Ukrainian flags and unfurled a banner that read “We are of the same courage.”

The Shakhtar players wore T-shirts with the inscription “Donetsk. Ukraine will win” over their playing jerseys, while the players of the Kharkiv club wore similar T-shirts with the inscription “Kharkiv. Ukraine will win.”

In addition, Metalist 1925 played the match wearing T-shirts with the emblem of the Ukraine’s Armed Forces instead of the traditional sponsor logo.

After a minute of silence in memory of the Ukrainians who died as a result of the Russian invasion, the first symbolic kick of the ball was made by a Ukrainian soldier.

Matches will be held without spectators due to security reasons.

But passers-by outside the stadium in Kyiv voiced their support.

Maksym Scherbyna, a fan of Dynamo Kyiv, said the resumption of football was “very important”.

“We show that war can’t stop us,” the 35-year-old said.

Fellow fan Denys Lazarenko, 41, said: “Our country needs football very much. It unites people very much.”

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