The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2021, grounded major activities in Ukraine. Football activities, like major events, were affected by military activities in some cities in Ukraine.
In response to the Invasion, Football governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA banned Russia from participating in international tournaments. This decision is currently contended by Russian Football Union in the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
League Has Been Cancelled
This necessitated the calling off of the league by the Ukrainian Premier League after a video conference call among the club directors. After a video meeting with teams on April 26, 2021, the league said that the standings as of Feb. 24, when the Russian invasion began and games were halted, will be deemed final “since the championship cannot be completed.”
Who Qualifies For European Tournaments
Shakhtar was leading at the moment, but the league stated that no official championship would be awarded.
If Ukrainian clubs can compete, the standings could determine qualification for European events next season. The Ukrainian soccer organization must ratify the league’s decision, and tournament entries must be sent to UEFA by early June. This contains two Champions League spots for the following season.
Effects Of Invasion On Ukrainian Clubs
The invasion has also had a direct effect on Ukrainian clubs. The home stadium of FC Mariupol is presently under Russian hands, while the stadium of Desna Chernihiv was destroyed by bombardments that collapsed part of a stand and left a deep crater in the field.
Current Status Of Ukrainian Football
Meanwhile, the men’s national team of Ukraine is still in contention to qualify for the World Cup this year. Ukraine will meet Scotland in a postponed qualifying playoff game on June 1 in Glasgow, with the winner facing Wales four days later in Cardiff for a spot in the Qatar tournament.
So far, the men’s national team of Ukraine and a series of Ukrainian clubs have been participating in a series of Friendly matches and Fundraising matches with teams across Europe. This may be due to the desire to keep their footballers fit till a near-possible future.
The future looks gloomy for Ukrainian football. So far, no possible date has been set for the league next season. The invasion doesn’t look like it’s coming to an end soon. A case in point is the fact that Shakhtar Donetsk, like Zorya Luhansk, was forced to leave its native city of Donetsk in 2014 after being taken over by Russia-backed separatists, and has since been based elsewhere in Ukraine.
There is also uncertainty about venues for home games if Ukrainian teams are allowed in European tournaments. No one wants to play football in a war-torn country.
What is stated in the last two paragraphs is not a final verdict on what will happen to Ukrainian Football but a status update. Today might look gloomy but tomorrow might bring a bright side. Only time will tell.