Wednesday 28 January 2015

Ukraine fans show sport can triumph over war

Donny Mahoney

Published 05/03/2014 | 02:30

KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 29:   Anti-government protestors play football in Europe square on January 29, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his cabinet resigned yesterday after months of protests while parliament is also scrapping a number of controversial anti-protest laws.  (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
Anti-government protestors play football in Europe square in Kiev, Ukraine

It's reassuring to see that even when a country stands on the brink of invasion and war, sport, in one way or another, will always go on.

With tensions heightening dangerously on the Crimean peninsula, football bureaucrats in Ukraine, wisely perhaps, suspended play in their league. The league suspension came right before a first-versus third clash between Shaktar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev.

So gutted supporters did what gutted supporters do: they played the match out themselves.

Ultras from both clubs dressed in corresponding uniforms and played out the match in the mostly empty NSC Olimpiyskiy in Kiev. Sunday's so-called 'Match For Unity' was a one-all draw that featured a number of Ukranian internationals in attendance.

Meanwhile, Ukraine were forced to move their midweek friendly with the USA to Cyprus. One wonders if there is any hope for football diplomacy in Crimea.

Irish Independent

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