Manchester United take on Manchester City in a Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Saturday, January 14, 2023 (14/1/23).
Here’s what you need to know:
fromManchester United vs Manchester City
when: Saturday 14 January 2023
time: 3 p.m. ET
where: Old Trafford
Ukraine plans to resume competitive football in the country in August despite being attacked by Russia following the approval of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Andriy Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian Football Association, revealed details to The Associated Press about his talks with Zelensky and the heads of FIFA and UEFA about finding a safe way to play men’s and women’s matches on home soil.
Ukraine was forced to abandon its federations in February when Russia launched an invasion that, according to Zelensky, led to the death of “at least tens of thousands” of Ukrainian civilians and the bombing of large swathes of many cities and towns to rubble.
But as Russian forces redeployed to the east and south, fighting subsided in the area near the capital Kyiv and elsewhere. There is optimism that sport can resume to lift the spirits of the nation, which is trying to qualify for the World Cup on Sunday with a win away to Wales.
“I’ve been talking with our president, Volodymyr Zelensky, about how distracting football can be,” Pavelko said in an interview with the Associated Press, flanked by Ukraine jerseys and a tactical board in the team’s boardroom in Cardiff. “From children to the elderly, everyone is focused on the war. Every day they receive information about the dead and the impact of the war.
“We talked about how football has a very great power to help people think about the future because people right now, of course, are not in the right mindset. They are in the worst mood. We talked about how football can help us think about the future.”
This is the future where players will be able to enter the field again in Ukraine to provide fun sporting moments.
“So we made the decision with the president that we will resume the Ukrainian championship in August,” Pavlko said through a translator. “In Ukraine we will play at every level. So the English Premier League, the first and second professional divisions, and the women’s championship.
“At all levels we will start in August. The decision was made with the President of Ukraine.
Pavelko met Zelensky before he left Ukraine for Glasgow to watch the World Cup semi-final match against Scotland on Wednesday. Pavelko then went to meet FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Paris and UEFA President Aleksandar Ceferin in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
“I told them that we will resume the tournament in wartime in Ukraine … under the bombs and we are counting on their support,” Pavlko said. “We are discussing the details.”
The government bans men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving Ukraine to keep them available for war duties, though footballers abroad are allowed to play in teams, and Pavelko has traveled to key meetings. But he did a live broadcast to the UEFA Congress in Vienna last month via his phone from a stadium in Chernihiv that had been attacked by Russia, to show the damage done.
It is not yet clear which parts of the country will be used for the league matches.
“We will talk to our military council and the government to discuss how to organize it safely,” Pavelko added.
Shakhtar Donetsk were top of the table when the season was suspended in February and then officially announced in April, giving them a place in the lucrative group stage of next season’s Champions League.
Shakhtar has been living in exile in limbo for eight years. The team has not played in Donetsk since 2014 when the Russian-backed conflict forced out of its region in eastern Ukraine, which remains the scene of heavy fighting.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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Ryan Novozinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.