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“Without legionnaires football weakens”: the former coach of “Bukovina” – about the fate of the next championships of Ukraine



Recently, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to hold football championships under martial law, but without spectators. Currently, there are many questions about the security, funding and basing of clubs.

About these problems MB talked to the first captain of the national team of Ukraine, a former player and coach Bukovina Yuri Shelepnytsky.

To risk such things?… I don’t know

– What do you think about the resumption of Ukrainian football championships?

– It is logical. After all, life goes on despite the war. It is clear that we need to concentrate on the defense of the state, but there are most people who are not involved in hostilities. So footballers have to play football, and people have to be distracted – watch it on TV.

– Discussions on the venue of the championship – in the west of Ukraine or abroad – have been going on for four months.

– The issue of security is both painful and difficult. Any place in our country is under threat. To risk such things?… I don’t know. In my opinion, it is better to hold championships abroad. This only applies to clubs participating in the Premier League. Lower league clubs can’t afford such things – to go abroad and play there. And, for example, a club from the Second League to do so is almost impossible.

Championships are significantly weakened

– How will the Ukrainian championship change without legionnaires, because most are afraid to stay and play in Ukraine?

– The situation is complicated. I think that there will be few legionnaires, or even none at all. They pulled the teams to the highest level of the game. We have already gone through these stages when there were no foreigners. The championship is clearly weakening without them, so it will be difficult. It is good that at least the championship is going to be held, because in our country, in addition to the national team, clubs play in European Cups. To show the result there, you need to play in the championship.

– What about the championships of lower leagues and clubs?

– The situation can develop in any way. There may be another format. It all depends on the financial capacity of the clubs. If you take into account the clubs from the eastern and southern regions, it is even harder there. It’s not Shakhtar and no Dynamo. The general decision was made: Let’s play. There are a lot of problems with club bases and finances.

It remains only to wait for the development of events. The authorities must develop a mechanism that will ensure the holding of sports competitions in Ukraine, as many clubs have lost sponsors. Accordingly, there is no funding, which is why footballers are forced to look for another way to earn money. Someone goes to the Armed Forces, terrorist defense, and someone radically changes the type of activity. Not everyone will return to the sport, which is currently dangerous and not very well paid.

From the dossier MB:

Yuriy Shelepnytsky, Ukrainian football player and coach. He played for clubs: Bukovina,, Chernomorets,, Trabzonspor,, Altai and Denizlispor (Turkey). The first captain of the national team of Ukraine, master of sports of Ukraine and the USSR.

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Today, 18:35