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Culture

Football family stands with Ukraine

Champions League players, coaches and clubs have been quick to support humanitarian relief efforts and take a stand in solidarity with Ukraine

WORDS Chris Burke

“Everything that is beautiful in sport is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.” So began Robert Lewandowski’s eloquent reaction to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Bayern forward issuing his statement as the news reverberated. It is a sentiment shared by fans, officials and other players across Europe, many having first-hand experience of Ukraine from club and international football. Just a decade ago, the now-beleaguered nation opened its arms to the continent as co-host of UEFA EURO 2012.

Help has taken diverse forms, though few have risked a bigger sacrifice than Sheriff coach Yuriy Vernydub. Five months before the war began, the Ukrainian led the minnows to a 2-1 victory away to Real Madrid, at stunning Champions League upset. Within days of the invasion he was back in his homeland to enrol with the armed forces. “When we beat Real Madrid, I couldn’t imagine this,” said the 56-year-old. “I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win and I will go back to my beloved work.”

Liverpool and Inter players link arms at Anfield in support of peace

Elsewhere, displays of support have been legion. UEFA are part of a joint campaign (#Football4Ukraine) with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, encouraging people to donate funds for food, shelter and other life-saving aid. Lyon’s Ada Hederberg, Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze, among others, are fronting the appeal. “I’m heartbroken by this situation,” said Bronze. “Millions of people, including many children, have been forced to flee their homes with no idea what the future holds. I hope our appeal will deliver the support they need.”

Clubs have been playing their part too. Bayern quickly pledged €100,000 to help children in Ukraine; at Liverpool, players generated more than £30,000 by auctioning signed shirts. Paris Saint-Germain have linked up with the charity Secours Populaire Français to purchase and distribute 9,000 hygiene and food kits for Ukrainian children, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas has invited 30 refugees to stay with him in his Parisian home.

“Everything that is beautiful in sport is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.” So began Robert Lewandowski’s eloquent reaction to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Bayern forward issuing his statement as the news reverberated. It is a sentiment shared by fans, officials and other players across Europe, many having first-hand experience of Ukraine from club and international football. Just a decade ago, the now-beleaguered nation opened its arms to the continent as co-host of UEFA EURO 2012.

Help has taken diverse forms, though few have risked a bigger sacrifice than Sheriff coach Yuriy Vernydub. Five months before the war began, the Ukrainian led the minnows to a 2-1 victory away to Real Madrid, at stunning Champions League upset. Within days of the invasion he was back in his homeland to enrol with the armed forces. “When we beat Real Madrid, I couldn’t imagine this,” said the 56-year-old. “I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win and I will go back to my beloved work.”

Liverpool and Inter players link arms at Anfield in support of peace

Elsewhere, displays of support have been legion. UEFA are part of a joint campaign (#Football4Ukraine) with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, encouraging people to donate funds for food, shelter and other life-saving aid. Lyon’s Ada Hederberg, Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze, among others, are fronting the appeal. “I’m heartbroken by this situation,” said Bronze. “Millions of people, including many children, have been forced to flee their homes with no idea what the future holds. I hope our appeal will deliver the support they need.”

Clubs have been playing their part too. Bayern quickly pledged €100,000 to help children in Ukraine; at Liverpool, players generated more than £30,000 by auctioning signed shirts. Paris Saint-Germain have linked up with the charity Secours Populaire Français to purchase and distribute 9,000 hygiene and food kits for Ukrainian children, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas has invited 30 refugees to stay with him in his Parisian home.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

At Benfica the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Gonçalo Ramos helped volunteers in a logistics operation organised by the club’s foundation to send essential goods to Ukraine. Dynamo Kyiv manager Mircea Lucescu, meanwhile, joined forces with UEFA and the Romanian and Moldovan FAs to help the foreign players at his club – plus former team Shakhtar Donetsk – get home through Bucharest.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has also contributed, allocating €1m to help children in Ukraine and young refugees in neighbouring countries. “It is our duty to help defend their fundamental rights and their health,” said UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, who also hailed “the solidarity of European football”. UEFA has also helped players caught up in the conflict by amending its
club competition regulations. It means clubs can
sign two additional players previously registered with a team affiliated to the Ukrainian Association of Football or the Football Union of Russia, whose contracts have been suspended.

Individuals have pitched in too, with David Beckham handing his Instagram account to a Ukrainian doctor for a day. Dr Iryna was able to show Beckham’s 71.7 million followers the harsh conditions endured at Kharkiv’s regional perinatal centre. More than simply highlighting their ordeal, the initiative provided a platform to encourage donations to UNICEF, for whom Beckham is an ambassador.  

Two years after the pandemic first hit, the continent faces another, very different crisis. European football is once again doing what it can to help.

“Everything that is beautiful in sport is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.” So began Robert Lewandowski’s eloquent reaction to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Bayern forward issuing his statement as the news reverberated. It is a sentiment shared by fans, officials and other players across Europe, many having first-hand experience of Ukraine from club and international football. Just a decade ago, the now-beleaguered nation opened its arms to the continent as co-host of UEFA EURO 2012.

Help has taken diverse forms, though few have risked a bigger sacrifice than Sheriff coach Yuriy Vernydub. Five months before the war began, the Ukrainian led the minnows to a 2-1 victory away to Real Madrid, at stunning Champions League upset. Within days of the invasion he was back in his homeland to enrol with the armed forces. “When we beat Real Madrid, I couldn’t imagine this,” said the 56-year-old. “I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win and I will go back to my beloved work.”

Liverpool and Inter players link arms at Anfield in support of peace

Elsewhere, displays of support have been legion. UEFA are part of a joint campaign (#Football4Ukraine) with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, encouraging people to donate funds for food, shelter and other life-saving aid. Lyon’s Ada Hederberg, Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze, among others, are fronting the appeal. “I’m heartbroken by this situation,” said Bronze. “Millions of people, including many children, have been forced to flee their homes with no idea what the future holds. I hope our appeal will deliver the support they need.”

Clubs have been playing their part too. Bayern quickly pledged €100,000 to help children in Ukraine; at Liverpool, players generated more than £30,000 by auctioning signed shirts. Paris Saint-Germain have linked up with the charity Secours Populaire Français to purchase and distribute 9,000 hygiene and food kits for Ukrainian children, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas has invited 30 refugees to stay with him in his Parisian home.

Football family stands with Ukraine
Culture

Football family stands with Ukraine

Champions League players, coaches and clubs have been quick to support humanitarian relief efforts and take a stand in solidarity with Ukraine

WORDS Chris Burke

“Everything that is beautiful in sport is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.” So began Robert Lewandowski’s eloquent reaction to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Bayern forward issuing his statement as the news reverberated. It is a sentiment shared by fans, officials and other players across Europe, many having first-hand experience of Ukraine from club and international football. Just a decade ago, the now-beleaguered nation opened its arms to the continent as co-host of UEFA EURO 2012.

Help has taken diverse forms, though few have risked a bigger sacrifice than Sheriff coach Yuriy Vernydub. Five months before the war began, the Ukrainian led the minnows to a 2-1 victory away to Real Madrid, at stunning Champions League upset. Within days of the invasion he was back in his homeland to enrol with the armed forces. “When we beat Real Madrid, I couldn’t imagine this,” said the 56-year-old. “I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win and I will go back to my beloved work.”

Liverpool and Inter players link arms at Anfield in support of peace

Elsewhere, displays of support have been legion. UEFA are part of a joint campaign (#Football4Ukraine) with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, encouraging people to donate funds for food, shelter and other life-saving aid. Lyon’s Ada Hederberg, Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze, among others, are fronting the appeal. “I’m heartbroken by this situation,” said Bronze. “Millions of people, including many children, have been forced to flee their homes with no idea what the future holds. I hope our appeal will deliver the support they need.”

Clubs have been playing their part too. Bayern quickly pledged €100,000 to help children in Ukraine; at Liverpool, players generated more than £30,000 by auctioning signed shirts. Paris Saint-Germain have linked up with the charity Secours Populaire Français to purchase and distribute 9,000 hygiene and food kits for Ukrainian children, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas has invited 30 refugees to stay with him in his Parisian home.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

“Everything that is beautiful in sport is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.” So began Robert Lewandowski’s eloquent reaction to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Bayern forward issuing his statement as the news reverberated. It is a sentiment shared by fans, officials and other players across Europe, many having first-hand experience of Ukraine from club and international football. Just a decade ago, the now-beleaguered nation opened its arms to the continent as co-host of UEFA EURO 2012.

Help has taken diverse forms, though few have risked a bigger sacrifice than Sheriff coach Yuriy Vernydub. Five months before the war began, the Ukrainian led the minnows to a 2-1 victory away to Real Madrid, at stunning Champions League upset. Within days of the invasion he was back in his homeland to enrol with the armed forces. “When we beat Real Madrid, I couldn’t imagine this,” said the 56-year-old. “I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win and I will go back to my beloved work.”

Liverpool and Inter players link arms at Anfield in support of peace

Elsewhere, displays of support have been legion. UEFA are part of a joint campaign (#Football4Ukraine) with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, encouraging people to donate funds for food, shelter and other life-saving aid. Lyon’s Ada Hederberg, Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze, among others, are fronting the appeal. “I’m heartbroken by this situation,” said Bronze. “Millions of people, including many children, have been forced to flee their homes with no idea what the future holds. I hope our appeal will deliver the support they need.”

Clubs have been playing their part too. Bayern quickly pledged €100,000 to help children in Ukraine; at Liverpool, players generated more than £30,000 by auctioning signed shirts. Paris Saint-Germain have linked up with the charity Secours Populaire Français to purchase and distribute 9,000 hygiene and food kits for Ukrainian children, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas has invited 30 refugees to stay with him in his Parisian home.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

At Benfica the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Gonçalo Ramos helped volunteers in a logistics operation organised by the club’s foundation to send essential goods to Ukraine. Dynamo Kyiv manager Mircea Lucescu, meanwhile, joined forces with UEFA and the Romanian and Moldovan FAs to help the foreign players at his club – plus former team Shakhtar Donetsk – get home through Bucharest.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has also contributed, allocating €1m to help children in Ukraine and young refugees in neighbouring countries. “It is our duty to help defend their fundamental rights and their health,” said UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, who also hailed “the solidarity of European football”. UEFA has also helped players caught up in the conflict by amending its
club competition regulations. It means clubs can
sign two additional players previously registered with a team affiliated to the Ukrainian Association of Football or the Football Union of Russia, whose contracts have been suspended.

Individuals have pitched in too, with David Beckham handing his Instagram account to a Ukrainian doctor for a day. Dr Iryna was able to show Beckham’s 71.7 million followers the harsh conditions endured at Kharkiv’s regional perinatal centre. More than simply highlighting their ordeal, the initiative provided a platform to encourage donations to UNICEF, for whom Beckham is an ambassador.  

Two years after the pandemic first hit, the continent faces another, very different crisis. European football is once again doing what it can to help.

“Everything that is beautiful in sport is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.” So began Robert Lewandowski’s eloquent reaction to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Bayern forward issuing his statement as the news reverberated. It is a sentiment shared by fans, officials and other players across Europe, many having first-hand experience of Ukraine from club and international football. Just a decade ago, the now-beleaguered nation opened its arms to the continent as co-host of UEFA EURO 2012.

Help has taken diverse forms, though few have risked a bigger sacrifice than Sheriff coach Yuriy Vernydub. Five months before the war began, the Ukrainian led the minnows to a 2-1 victory away to Real Madrid, at stunning Champions League upset. Within days of the invasion he was back in his homeland to enrol with the armed forces. “When we beat Real Madrid, I couldn’t imagine this,” said the 56-year-old. “I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win and I will go back to my beloved work.”

Liverpool and Inter players link arms at Anfield in support of peace

Elsewhere, displays of support have been legion. UEFA are part of a joint campaign (#Football4Ukraine) with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, encouraging people to donate funds for food, shelter and other life-saving aid. Lyon’s Ada Hederberg, Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze, among others, are fronting the appeal. “I’m heartbroken by this situation,” said Bronze. “Millions of people, including many children, have been forced to flee their homes with no idea what the future holds. I hope our appeal will deliver the support they need.”

Clubs have been playing their part too. Bayern quickly pledged €100,000 to help children in Ukraine; at Liverpool, players generated more than £30,000 by auctioning signed shirts. Paris Saint-Germain have linked up with the charity Secours Populaire Français to purchase and distribute 9,000 hygiene and food kits for Ukrainian children, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas has invited 30 refugees to stay with him in his Parisian home.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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