Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar to start peace-themed tour

Apr 7, 2022, 6:42 PM | Updated: Apr 8, 2022, 6:44 am
FILE - Shakhtar's Junior Moraes celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Europa ...

FILE - Shakhtar's Junior Moraes celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Europa League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18, 2021. Veteran striker Junior Moraes has returned to Brazil to join Corinthians, but on Tuesday he admitted his mind far from sport. The 34-year-old Moraes, who obtained Ukrainian citizenship three years ago, fears for his friends, colleagues and teammates amid Russia's invasion of the European country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar Donetsk will play a series of charity games on a government-backed “Global Tour for Peace” that will raise money for the country’s military in the war against Russia.

The depleted squad has gathered in Turkey to prepare for Saturday’s opening match against Greek league leader Olympiakos. The games will also raise money for Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war.

“Football diplomacy will help us involve millions of fans around the world in assisting Ukraine, which is really important,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Friday. “By this charity tour, we will continue attracting the world’s attention to Russian aggression against Ukraine and raise more funds for the Ukrainian army.”

Shakhtar is also set to play Fenerbahce, Hajduk Split and Lechia Gdansk, with other opponents still to be confirmed.

Soccer clubs around Europe have been offering to play games against Ukrainian clubs and host youth players after soccer in the country was shut down when Russia invaded in February.

Olympiakos has advertised the game as “Football For Peace – Stop war in Ukraine.” Tickets for the match in Pireaus cost 10 euros ($10.90).

“This shall be the opening match in a series of friendlies the Ukrainian outfit is going to play against top clubs in Europe and the U.S.,” the defending Greek champions said.

Shakhtar has not played a competitive game since mid-December. On Feb. 26, the league leaders were scheduled to resume the domestic season after a winter break. But two days before their game at Metalist Kharkiv, Russia launched its military invasion and Ukrainian soccer stopped.

Shakhtar typically provides several players to the Ukrainian national team, which was unable to play a World Cup qualifying playoff match against Scotland two weeks ago.

FIFA wants to stage that game in Glasgow in early June. The winner will play Wales several days later for a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. FIFA also removed Russia from the playoffs.

Shakhtar has relied on a core of Brazilian players to win 13 league titles over the past 20 years and become a regular in the Champions League. In December, Shakhtar finished last in a Champions League group that included Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

During the war, FIFA changed transfer rules to let players with Ukrainian clubs sign elsewhere. Shakhtar loaned Tetê to Lyon while Junior Moraes, who gained citizenship and played for Ukraine, went to Brazil to play for Corinthians.

The club’s success has continued despite being exiled from its home city Donetsk in 2014, when pro-Russia separatists took control of parts of eastern Ukraine. The team has been playing in Kyiv in recent years.

Nicknamed the Miners, the club is owned by billionaire Rinat Akhmetov and has become a symbol of its home region. The Donbass Arena hosted games at the 2012 European Championship.

The club said during the war it has so far provided 1.4 billion Ukrainian hryvni ($48 million) in “humanitarian aid to civilians, as well as assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Territorial Defense force in dozens of cities and towns.”


More AP soccer: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]
27 days ago
Joe Jarzynka...
Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]
27 days ago
FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]
27 days ago
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...
Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]
27 days ago
FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...
Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]
27 days ago
FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...
Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]
27 days ago
Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar to start peace-themed tour