The Ukrainian Premier League kicked off last night despite the unending war ravaging the country through attack from Russia. Yesterday, Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalist 1925 Kharkiv kicked off the new season with a 0-0 draw in Kyiv at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex. The stadium was without fans and players are mandated to wear bomb jackets as a measure to protect its civilians from Russia’s ongoing attacks.
Still the same Tuesday, Ch. Odessa were defeated by Veres Rivne to a 0-1 score. FK Zoriya triumphed over Vorskla Poltava by 3-1 and the last game was between Kolos Kovalivka and Kryvbas with Kovalivka edging out Krysbas with a narrow win of 1-0.
The league was called off last season around February following Russia’s invasion of the country
During these six months of absence of football in Ukraine, some teams have played charity matches around Europe, although the qualifying stages for European competition have begun recently, something which Dynamo Kyiv, SC Dnipro-1, Zorya Luhansk and Vorskla Poltava have been participating in.
Ukrainian football’s lower tiers, the women’s league, and youth competitions are also set to resume kick-off as well.
A journalist who runs Zorya London, an online platform about Ukrainian football
“I think the most important bit about it is showing continuity, survival, and defiance while Ukraine is at war with Russia,” said Andrew Todos,
“And I think that the fact they want to try to play it in Ukraine is another symbol that Ukraine can cope.”
“If football did not resume for an unspecified amount of time, it would have created a problem for the next generation of talent, there would have been a talent drain – which we’ve seen already, with plenty of youngsters moving abroad, going to different academies across Europe”.