Ukraine: The Latest - How Ukrainian football is surviving Russia's invasion

Ukrainian football has suffered during the full scale invasion. Players of Dynamo Kiev pose for a photo before the UEFA Europa Conference League play-off 2nd leg soccer match between Besiktas Istanbul and Dynamo Kiev in Istanbul, Turkey, 31 August 2023. UEFA Europa Conference League playoffs - Besiktas Istanbul vs Dynamo Kiev, Turkey - 31 Aug 2023
Ukrainian football has suffered during the full scale invasion. - ERDEM SAHIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Photo by ERDEM SAHIN/EPA

Today on Ukraine: The Latest,we bring you updates from the battlefront, discuss the state of Ukrainian football in the full scale invasion and Dom Nicholls interviews the Chair of Urban Warfare studies at the Modern War Institute, John Spencer.

Roman Tymotsko, a representative from Karpaty-Lviv FC talks about the reality of playing professional football in Ukraine:

When the air raid siren goes off the match is stopped and everyone on the pitch and off the pitch goes to the bomb shelter. We cannot host our supporters in the stadium because our bomb shelter doesn’t have the capacity to host thousands of people.

So only the club staff and the club management is allowed at the stadium. During one of our recent matches, we had two air raid sirens and the match stopped for half an hour and then it continued and we were lucky enough to finish the match.

A few moments after the final whistle, there was another air raid siren.

Ukrainian football expert Andrew Todos explains how the war has affected clubs across Ukraine:

Since the full scale invasion a number of professional teams have sadly folded, through either financial problems or just as a result of the war. 

Some obviously found themselves in occupation, such as FC Mariupol. They have, for now, folded and will hopefully be back once Mariupol has returned to Ukrainian territory from Russian occupation.

He continues:

Last season, across Ukraine’s top three professional leagues, everything went without any major issues, per se. Yes, there were delays due to air raid sirens however, as far as I’m aware, I think 99% of all games finished on the same day that they started. Clubs are surviving, just about. 

Listen to Ukraine: the Latest, The Telegraph’s daily podcast, using the audio player at the top of this article or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

War in Ukraine is reshaping our world. Every weekday The Telegraph’s top journalists analyse the invasion from all angles - military, humanitarian, political, economic, historical - and tell you what you need to know to stay updated.

With over 40 million downloads, our Ukraine: The Latest podcast is your go-to source for all the latest analysis, live reaction and correspondents reporting on the ground. We have been broadcasting ever since the full-scale invasion began.

Ukraine: The Latest’s regular contributors are:

David Knowles

David is Head of Audio Development at The Telegraph, where he has worked for nearly three years. He has reported from across Ukraine during the full-scale invasion.

Dominic Nicholls

Dom is Associate Editor (Defence) at The Telegraph, having joined in 2018. He previously served for 23 years in the British Army, in tank and helicopter units. He had operational deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

Francis Dearnley

Francis is assistant comment editor at The Telegraph. Prior to working as a journalist, he was chief of staff to the Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board at the Houses of Parliament in London. He studied History at Cambridge University and on the podcast explores how the past shines a light on the latest diplomatic, political, and strategic developments.

They are also regularly joined by The Telegraph’s foreign correspondents around the world, including Joe Barnes (Brussels), Sophia Yan (China), Nataliya Vasilyeva (Russia), Roland Oliphant (Senior Reporter) and Colin Freeman (Reporter). In London, Venetia Rainey (Weekend Foreign Editor), Katie O’Neill (Assistant Foreign Editor), and Verity Bowman (News Reporter) also frequently appear to offer updates.