Ukraine is set to resume professional football in the country in August amidst being under attack by Russia. The proposal has been approved by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The President of Ukraine’s football federation, Andriy Pavelko while talking to The Associated Press revealed the talks with Zelenskyy and the heads of FIFA and UEFA about finding a safe way of playing men’s and women’s matches.
Ukraine was pushed to shut its leagues in February when Russia began their invasion according to Zelenskyy, which led to the death of “at least tens of thousands” of Ukrainian civilians. There was destruction of many cities and towns because of constant bombing.
"Football has a very big power to help people think about the future," Pavelko
“I spoke with our president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, about how important football is to distract,” Pavelko said in an interview with the AP in Cardiff. “From the children to the old people, everyone is focused on the war. Every day they receive information about deaths, about the impact of the war.”
“We spoke about how football has a very big power to help people think about the future because now people, of course, are not in a good mindset. They’re in the worst mood. We spoke about how it would be possible that football could help us to think about the future,” he continued. “That is a future with players being able to take to the field again in Ukraine to provide uplifting sports moments of joy”, he added.
"The decision was taken with the president of Ukraine,” Pavelko
“So we took the decision with the president that we would resume the Ukrainian championship in August,” Pavelko said through a translator. “In Ukraine, we will play on every level. So the Premier League, and the first and second professional divisions, and women’s championship.”
“At all levels, we will start in August. The decision was taken with the president of Ukraine.” Notably, Pavelko had a meeting with Zelenskyy before leaving Ukraine for playing the World Cup playoff semifinal against Scotland in Glasgow.
The Ukrainian team registered an incredible 3-1 win to reach the finals and face Wales to seize the final World Cup spot. “I informed them that we will resume the championships in the wartime in Ukraine … under the bombs and we count on their support,” Pavelko quoted.