How the conflict between Russia and Ukraine affects world sports

High tensions between Russia and Ukraine have raised fears of a military escalation in the Donbas region. The geopolitical context of disrupting sports competitions. The next Champions League final, originally scheduled for St. Petersburg, could be relocated. The East Ukrainian club has been forced into exile for many years.

The message in capital letters on the blue and yellow flag: “No war in Ukraine”. Two weeks ago, during the 2022 Olympics, Vladyslav Heraskevych held up a clear bag to express his concerns. The 23-year-old Kiev native and skeletal expert used his time in Beijing to call for an end to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. “This is my position, I fight for peace,” he explained.

The alarm was raised as tensions escalated in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine. Vladimir Putin decided Monday night to recognize the independence of the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk after deploying thousands of soldiers to the border. His troops have invested around. In response, Ukraine announced a plan to mobilize reserves. What scary is the military escalation in the next few days.

Champions League final in St Petersburg under threat

A worrisome background affecting sports competition. UEFA is considering relocating the next Champions League final, scheduled for May 28 at the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg, northwest Russia, very seriously, according to the BBC. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs in a speech to the British Parliament that there was “no opportunity to organise a football match in Russia, which is invading a sovereign state”. It remains to be seen where the C1 final might take place.

Meanwhile, Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko made a statement online. “The whole world is worried about the situation in my country,” wrote the Ukraine international (48 appearances), who wore an armband during Euro 2021. I can’t stay out of it, and I can’t express my opinion. This is the country where I was born and where I grew up. A country that I defend its colors on the international sports scene. A nation we strive to glorify and grow. A country whose borders must remain inviolable. My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one can take over it. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine. “

Likewise, Kiev mayor and former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko has pledged to protect the Ukrainian capital in the event of a Russian invasion. “We hope this doesn’t happen, but if invaders come to our country, we will have no choice, we must defend our city, our country, our future,” the 50-year-old politician said. at the beginning of the month. Like his brother Vladimir, he is officially registered on the army reserve volunteer list and is a former boxing champion.

Chakthior Donetsk forced into exile

The conflict in the Donbass has disrupted European football for several years. UEFA has banned Russian and Ukrainian teams from playing in the Champions League, Europa League and now La Liga “until further notice”. for security reasons. A measure taken at the start of the hybrid war in 2014 killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. After the independence revolution that led to the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych’s government and the annexation of Crimea to Russia, local football has changed dramatically.

Of the five main teams in eastern Ukraine, three had to be exiled urgently to continue playing. Such is the case with Chakhtior Donetsk, one of the biggest teams in the country, currently leading the championship. After the bombing of the Donbass Arena, which hosted the Euro 2012 final, the club with 13 league titles moved to Lviv for two years before finding refuge at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. 750 kilometers from his usual stronghold. Fourth-placed FK Zorya Lugansk settled in Zoporiya, 400 kilometers from their stadium. FC Olympik, another club from Donetsk, play for Persha Liga (Second Division) and travel to Chernihiv, 800 km from Donbass.

PSG handball travel postponed

Two other important teams in the region, FK Mariupol (migrated to Dnipro in 2014-2015) and FK Kramatorsk in Ukraine-controlled areas still use their infrastructure. Currently. Two Crimea-based clubs have left the Ukrainian tournament since the tensions began: Sevastopol and Tavria Simferopol. They want to play in Russia, but UEFA is currently against it.

Last week, the Paris Saint-Germain handball team’s trip to southeastern Ukraine was cancelled by the Europa League. The capital’s players will challenge Zaporozhye Autocar in the Champions League, but the meeting has been postponed. It could take place in neutral on an as yet unannounced date.

Leave a Comment