It will be a rather surreal spectacle. Players competing in destroyed football stadiums under vigilant surveillance will rush to shelter with coaches and other staff in the event of an attack. It will be an ominous reminder of the times of Covid when matches were played without spectators, a resounding silence echoing through the stadiums – except perhaps in the case of Ukraine, chances are the silence will be broken by an air raid.
Writing on Facebook, the minister informed that the matches would be held under military presence and would follow all security arrangements.
Ukraine destroys Russian ammunition depot in southern town of Nova Kakhovka
Notably, Ukraine celebrates its Flag Day on August 23.
Ukrainian football has been suspended since the outbreak of war on February 24, 2022. The last games were played in December before a winter break, according to reports. The last football season was interrupted by the war. AFP reports that Ukrainian football clubs decided in April to end the previous season soon after the Russian invasion. At that time, Shakhtar Donetsk led Dynamo Kyiv by two points but no title was awarded.
It is in a nod to this spirit of determination and also to boost the morale of the nation which has suffered relentless bombardment that the Ukrainian authorities have taken up the call to resume football – the game that unites, inspires and especially at this time – distracted.
A return to the football field would give Ukrainians reason to rejoice after months (in addition to the gains made by Kyiv against Moscow’s military superiority). Football brings back a sense of normalcy – an experience that is taken for granted and forgotten by a generation of Ukrainians in the throes of protracted conflict.
Sports Minister Vadym Gutsai said: “It is very important to resume football, like other national championships, in Ukraine. We continue to compete and encourage. We keep fighting and winning. Ukrainian sport will be victorious on all fronts and cannot be prevented from progressing.
Yet when players enter the stadiums, or what remains of them, the ravages of war will be there for all to see. Much of Ukrainian football infrastructure, including stadiums and training grounds, was destroyed by Russian attacks.
On June 28, for example, a Russian missile strike on the southern city of Mykolaiv hit its central stadium which was upgraded last year with new furniture, technical equipment, computers and a new heated pitch. on the ground. Everything was destroyed when an impact left a crater 5 meters deep and 15 meters wide in the middle of the lawn.
Furious citizens, including footballers, condemned Russia’s arbitrary attack, but troops did not spare public infrastructure by launching a full-scale “military operation” in the country. Residential buildings and supermarkets were also attacked.