Ukraine set to restart soccer league as war rages on

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The Shakhtar Donetsk players rushed onto the field for their final practice in Ukraine on Monday before the national soccer league kicked off an unusual new season as soon as the air raid sirens ceased.

Tuesday at 1000 GMT, the inaugural match of the Ukrainian Premier League is scheduled to take place between Shakhtar and Metalist 1925 from the troubled eastern city of Kharkiv, as Ukrainian troops fight Russian forces in the east and south.

A day before Ukraine celebrates six months since Russia invaded its smaller neighbor, which has resulted in a conflict that has killed thousands of people, displaced millions, devastated entire towns, and is still raging, the game in Kyiv begins.

According to Andriy Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian Association of Football, “This will be a unique competition: It will happen during a war, during military aggression, during bombardments,”

Because of the possibility of explosives and missiles, games will not be played with spectators in the stands. Desna Chernihiv and FC Mariupol, two top-tier teams, are being replaced in the 16-team league after their stadiums were damaged during the fighting.

The whole future of FC Mariupol is in doubt now that Russia has taken control of the city where the team is  based following a violent three-month siege that Ukraine claims claimed the lives of over 20,000 citizens.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian army, who think the league would help boost national spirit, are credited with providing a large portion of the push for restarting the soccer season amid the precarious conditions.

“Many people at the front lines asked us to start thinking about restarting football in our country,” according to Pavelko.

In order to persuade club presidents to prevent their teams from wilting and to get them ready for a new season, he traveled around Ukraine in March and April.

Shakhtar, one of the favorites to win this year’s championship and a team that will play in the Champions League of Europe, is no stranger to conflict; in fact, they had to leave their hometown of Donetsk in 2014 when the city was taken over by separatists supported by Russia.


Read also: Russia Accuses Ukraine of Murdering Ultra-Nationalist’s Daughter

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Yash Mehra
Yash Mehra
I was raised in a television loving household, so by default I am inclined towards the entertainment industry, be it television, radio or the local Ramleela. I am drawn towards things that that entertain people and give me a chance to explore my creativity. Since 1st standard I have been that kid who would be the first one to raise their hands for competitions and assemblies. As I grew biologically, mentally and horizontally my urge to do more, create more grew with me, so I joined the school theatre society and just like every theatre kid I was also confident, spoke what my said and obviously loud and even now amongst my peers I am the loud one. Through theatre and street plays I got into writing and became the Editorial Head for our school magazine. After that in the 11tgh standard I got elected as the School Activity Coordinator, for which I had to give a speech which was more of a stand up comedy show. Then after 12th I decided to pursue BA ( Journalism and Mass Communication ). I am a huge Marvel and anime fan so when it comes to these things I become a geek or otaku. From One Piece to Moon Knight I have seen it all

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