Ukraine Set to Restart Soccer League As War Rages on
The war has ravaged Ukraine for over six months, and officials have warned that the country may face even more attacks this week. On Wednesday, the country celebrates its Independence Day, and it will also mark the six-month anniversary of the conflict. The soccer league was suspended due to the conflict. Despite the disruptions, Shakhtar is among the favourites to win this year’s title and compete in the Champions League. The club relocated from its home city of Donetsk, which was captured by Russia-backed separatists, and has been a consistent winner of the league. Its title streak includes five titles, and on February 24th, when the war began, they were in the lead.
The war has disrupted Ukraine’s soccer league for many years, but it is finally set to resume in the lower tiers, including the women’s league and youth competitions. The resumption of the league is vital for the survival of Ukrainian clubs and for the development of young talent.
The war continues to disrupt soccer matches in Ukraine, with stadiums now required to be equipped with bomb shelters. Most matches will be played in the Kyiv area, and later in two western provinces near the border. Air raid sirens continue to ring throughout most of the country. The stadiums must be staffed with security guards, and referees are required to suspend matches if they hear the sound of an attack. If a match is delayed for more than an hour, it will be abandoned until the next game starts. This could result in some strange scenarios.
The Ukrainian Premier League was suspended in mid-December for mid-winter breaks and was scheduled to resume on Feb. 25 – just before the Russian invasion. The league was canceled soon afterward, but is now set to resume with 16 teams. The games will take place in Kyiv and will be broadcast nationally and internationally. The Ukrainian Army hopes that the season will help the country’s national morale.
A new Ukrainian soccer league will start on Tuesday in Kyiv, despite threats from Russian forces and ongoing hostilities. The league will feature two teams from eastern cities, Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalist 1925, with both teams in search of survival. Despite the dangers, it’s still hoped that the league can help bring the country back to normal life.