Skip to main content

Football team in Ukraine war zone changes homes

July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
After Douglas Costa said he was
After Douglas Costa said he was "afraid" to return to Shakhtar Donetsk, the club has moved its home games to Lviv.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Shakhtar Donetsk will now play its home games in the western city of Lviv
  • Ukraine's top football club and the Champions League regular moves its base to Kiev
  • The announcement comes after six players refused to return to Shakhtar
  • Shakhtar won the Ukrainian Super Cup on Tuesday and starts league play Sunday

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- After Brazilian midfielder Douglas Costa said he was "afraid" to return to Shakhtar Donetsk, the Ukrainian club located in a war zone announced that it would play its home games elsewhere.

Shakhtar, Ukraine's top club and a regular in the Champions League, now plans on contesting its home matches in the western city of Lviv near the Polish border and will shift its training base to the capital, Kiev, from Donetsk.

Shakhtar begins its league campaign with a "home" game Sunday against Metalurh Zaporizhya.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine were already running high but further escalated after MH17 was shot down near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine Thursday.

The U.S. believes pro-Russian rebels shot down the plane, which the rebels deny, while Ukraine has accused Russia of involvement -- which Russia has also denied, blaming Ukraine's military for the tragedy.

"We will play all of our home games at the Arena Lviv so far," Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu told the club website after Tuesday's win over Dynamo Kiev in Lviv in the Ukrainian Super Cup.

"The team liked the city and the atmosphere here was great."

Lucescu didn't know when the team would resume home games at the Donbass Arena, which, like the Arena Lviv, staged games during Euro 2012, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.

Costa is one of six South American players who refused to return to Shakhtar following a friendly in France. All six didn't play in the 2-0 victory against Dynamo.

Writing on his Instagram page this week, Costa, who has previously been linked with Manchester United, insisted he wasn't "abandoning" the club but that "in this moment we are all concerned (for) our lives." He is now being linked with a loan move to the English Premier League or Italy's Serie A.

Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov, meanwhile, said that if the players didn't come back, they would "suffer" while insisting the club would keep them safe.

Captain Darijo Srna dedicated Tuesday's win to Shakhtar's fans.

"We know that our fans are with us," Srna, with Shakhtar since 2003, told the club website. "This victory is for them, for Donbass, for all the people who are going through the hard war times.

"I do not know what to say. My heart hurts, my soul hurts. But we still try to show our football, the Shakhtar type. Trying to give a festival to all the fans of Shakhtar.

"Everyone who is a fan of Shakhtar should know this: I'm with you, the team is with you!"

Read: Shakhtar president's warning to AWOL players

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT