Ukrainian football to return next month with stadiums ‘with air raid shelters’

The Ukrainian Premier League will start again on August 23 but stadiums will be equipped with 'air raid shelters'.

The country's sports minister has confirmed that a new season will begin next month but games will be held behind-closed-doors and arenas will be equipped with shelters for any air raid sirens. The country has been without matches ever since December. Ukraine had a three-month winter break and then Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

At the time Shakhtar Donetsk were top of the league table with 47 points from 18 games, but just two points behind were rivals Dynamo Kyiv. Minister Vadym Guttsait has confirmed matches will also have a military presence for security.

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He said via a Facebook post: "While we are agreeing on the details, I can say for sure: the matches will be held on the territory of Ukraine, without spectators, with the permission of the local military administrations, and with mandatory observance of all safety rule.

"It is very important to restore big football, like other national championships, in Ukraine. We continue to compete and cheer. We continue to fight and win. Despite everything, Ukrainian sports and the will to win on all fronts cannot be stopped. We stand firmly on the sports front."

The Ukrainian government has issued several guidelines for the competition, such as including a fully-equipped shelter near the stadiums, and even mandatory presence of the local military and emergency services. If an air alarm sounds off, matches will be stopped and everyone in attendance – players, coaches, officials, et all – will be sent to the shelter.

Dynamo Kyiv are due to face Fenerbahce in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, while their home fixture will actually be playing in Poland.

Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed they will host Dynamo in a pre-season friendly in Liverpool on July 29 and the money made from the match will be donated to charities supporting the people of Ukraine.


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