Ukrainian Football Federation displays war-damaged stadium seating ahead of Euro 2024 opener; picture surfaces

The Ukrainian Football Federation revealed a section of seating from a war-torn stadium in Kharkiv hours before Ukraine’s season opener in Euro 2024. In their first clash, Ukraine was up against Romania in a Group E fixture at the Allianz Arena in Germany, where the former registered a 0-3 defeat over the rivals. Before the game, former Ukraine striker and the head of the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) Andriy Shevchenko, displayed the shell-blasted seats of a Kharkiv Stadium, which was built for Euro 2012 in Munich. 

The stand was destroyed in the war in Ukraine by Russian troops in May 2022. It is now part of an interactive installation that highlights the impact of the two-year war on Ukraine’s sports infrastructure. Not only this, but the exhibit also highlighted that 500 sports facilities in Ukraine have suffered from Russian bombings and missile strikes. The stand and installation will tour various German cities and will have the next top in Dusseldorf. 

During the exhibit, Shevchenko said, “It’s very important that we show during the war that in the country, we continue our lives”. He added, “Sport is a big part of our society. It’s a very powerful tool but in good hands. The participation of the Ukrainian team today it’s a very important message for the rest of the world that we continue to live and we’re going to fight, but not only fight we’re going to do our normal life and try to be part of European society and the world society who share the same values of their freedom and democracy with us.”

Ukraine’s all-time top scorer added, “When I was the coach of the national team, we often came to Kharkiv for training. We prepared for the Euro 2021 qualifiers at Sonyachny. Learning that the stadium was destroyed felt like finding out your home was ruined. Even if football pitches or stands cannot withstand Russian shells, we will never stop standing for our country and telling the world about this ruthless war.” 

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