How Ukrainian football united against Russian aggression, from Zinchenko to clubs that adopted the colors of the nation

ads The day cruise missiles and rockets began targeting Ukraine, soccer clubs across the country launched widespread protests against the Russi


The day cruise missiles and rockets began targeting Ukraine, soccer clubs across the country launched widespread protests against the Russian invasion.

Several clubs changed their crests to blue and yellow, the official colors of Ukraine, on social media, while Veres Rivne’s team filmed a message of support for the country’s armed forces atop the Lviv city hall.

The Ukrainian Premier League, which was due to restart on Friday, February 25 after the conclusion of its two-month winter break, has been postponed for at least 30 days. Even this week, the Ministry of Sport and Culture had been considering hosting matches behind closed doors, but that has changed with the introduction of martial law and the cessation of all mass events. Dynamo Kyiv U19’s match against Sporting CP was the first match that was postponed.

Andriy Shevchenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko have joined high-profile sports figures, including former world heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, in speaking out against the escalation of the conflict.

Manchester City full-back Zinchenko has claimed that Instagram removed a post from his account in which he wished Vladimir Putin “the most painful death”.

Meanwhile, Shevchenko, Ukraine’s all-time top scorer and former coach, tweeted: “Ukraine is my homeland! I have always been proud of my people and my country! We have been through many difficult times and in the last 30 years we have shaped ourselves as a nation! A nation of sincere, hard-working, freedom-loving citizens! This is our most important asset!”

UEFA is expected to announce on Friday that the 2022 Champions League final will no longer take place in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

However, questions remain as to whether further sporting sanctions will be introduced. It is not yet four years since Russia hosted the FIFA World Cup, but major organizations are under pressure to cut ties with state sponsors and impose restrictions on Kremlin allies.

Labor MP Chris Bryant said on Thursday that after seeing a Home Office document relating to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, “surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country.”

The Champions League is sponsored by Gazprom, a majority Russian state-owned energy corporation. Addressed by I Regarding that partnership, European football’s governing body said: “We will continue to closely monitor the situation. We have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

In a separate statement, UEFA added that it “strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine” and expressed its “solidarity with the football community in Ukraine.”

Schalke 04 have removed the logo of Gazprom, the Bundesliga 2 club’s main sponsor, from their shirts. for Ukraine’.

Dynamo Moscow striker Fedor Smolov was the first Russian international to address the situation, writing “no to war” on Instagram.

Among other statements inside Ukraine, FC Mariupol wrote that the city “will always be Ukrainian,” posting photos from a recent pro-Ukrainian rally. Dynamo Kyiv captain Serhiy Sydorchuk added: “In these difficult times for our Ukraine, I want to support everyone who is striving to preserve our independence and sovereignty of our country.”

There are likely to be protests elsewhere in European football this weekend. Kadeem Harris, the former Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder, joined the Ukrainian Metalist in September but now admits he is facing a “worrying time”, with the league suspended. In the English Premier League, Everton’s match against Manchester City will feature two Ukrainian players, Zinchenko and Vitalii Mykolenko.

It remains to be decided whether the upcoming international meetings of Russia and Ukraine will be affected. Russia is scheduled to play Poland in a World Cup play-off at Moscow’s Dinamo Lev Yashin stadium on May 24, the same day as Ukraine’s game against Scotland at Hampden Park.

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, who were drawn in the same play-off section as Russia, have asked for the matches to be moved elsewhere.