Despite the war, Ukraine enjoys the resumption of its championship

Despite the war, Ukraine enjoys the resumption of its championship

What’s next after this announcement?

Suspended last February following the Russian invasion of the country, the Ukrainian Premier League had yet to produce a champion. The classification at the time of the end of the competition only made it possible to define the teams qualified for the European Cup. Shakhtar Donetsk qualified in the group stage of the Champions League, Dynamo kyiv (Champions League) and Dnipro -1 (Europa League) are in an unfavorable tie in the play-offs and are at risk of being transferred to the Europa League and Europa League respectively Conference. Vorskla Poltava and Zorya Luhansk have already taken the gate in the Europa League Conference. Disappointing results on the European scene, but logical given the tragic context in Ukraine and the loss of many foreign players who left the championship. However, this Tuesday, August 23, gave way to optimism. After 254 days of waiting, Ukrainian football returns with the first day of the Ukrainian Premier League.

A first full of symbolism and emotion

A 2022/2023 season that promises to be quite unprecedented and that will leave little room for celebration in its difficult moments. Taking place under martial law, the competition will be held behind closed doors and under high security standards. Thus, the stadiums have been equipped with shelters to house players and staff in case of air attacks. Taking place at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, the first match of this new season pitted Shakhtar Donetsk against promoted Metalist Kharkiv. Before the match, Shakhtar’s new coach, Igor Jovićević, returned to the situation on the club’s website: “Of course, this is not a normal situation. Something similar currently does not exist anywhere in the world, but we all want to show that life must go on. Everyone should know that, among other things, football is necessary to distract from all stressful events. We want help in this way, even if it is difficult for everyone.

The match ended in a 0-0 draw, which was nonetheless highly emotional. Before the match, the Ukrainian flag was unfurled and the national anthem was played as we celebrated the national flag day in Ukraine (the country’s independence will be celebrated tomorrow, editor’s note). A message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was also broadcast before the meeting: “the combination of two colors that we love, appreciate and never change for another. We will never recognize a strange color on our land and in our sky. And always ready to defend their blue and yellow flag. […] There will be blue and yellow. Our Ukrainian flag. Our amulet. Ukrainian Guardian. From earth to heaven! Happy National Flag Day»

And now, hope…

While other matches including Zorya Luhansk v Vorskla Poltava (3-1), Tchornomorets v Veres (0-1) and Kolos Kovalivka v Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih (1-0) have resumed, no major issues apart from a related scandal were reported. with broadcasting rights for the match Zorya – Vorskla. Be that as it may, the war did not interfere in these meetings. Metalist coach Valery Kryventsov praised the organization of the opening match in remarks picked up by the national media. Sport : “First of all, I want to thank the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which protect and protect us. Secondly, I want to congratulate the fans on the fact that the championship has started and now everyone has the opportunity to cheer on their favorite team. On the game side, starting the championship at a time like this is a great courage. I think the opening match was a success.”

Chornomorets coach Roman Grigorchuk is also happy to see football back in his country: “Football is back and that is good news. Football is making a comeback thanks to our soldiers, and we are very grateful to them. We are proud of our soldiers.” Players, on the other hand, want to show that hope remains despite the brutality of war so close. “They (people from all over the world, editor’s note) should remember the events that are happening in Ukraine, because a lot of time is going by and maybe the world is forgetting. Our goal is to use the matches to remind the world that nothing is over and the atrocities that are happening here in Ukraine.”, explained in particular Mykhaylo Mudryk, the star of Shakhtar Donetsk on the club’s website. Bringing back its football, Ukraine has already won a great battle in its war with Russia.

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