Tags: Brazil | Argentina | Ukraine | soccer

Brazil, Argentina Soccer Players Refuse Return to Ukraine Team

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 08:52 AM

Five Brazilian soccer players and an Argentine are refusing to return to Ukraine’s richest soccer club because of the conflict in the east European country.

Shakhtar players Alex Teixeira, Fred, Douglas Costa, Facundo Ferreyra, Ismaily and Dentinho refused to fly back with their teammates following an exhibition game in France.

The team, owned by billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, is based in the eastern city of Donetsk, which is controlled by a group of pro-Russian rebels. A Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down in the region, killing all 298 passengers and crew on July 17.

“I don’t rule out that these players will return to the team quickly, and some of them — tomorrow,” Akhmetov said on the club’s website. “Players have contracts that they have to abide by. If they do not come, I think, they will be the first to suffer.”

Nine-time Ukrainian champion Shakhtar has been a landing spot for South American talent for several years, with many moving on to bigger European clubs for a profit. Last year the team sold midfielder Willian to England’s Chelsea.

“Each of them has a minimum release clause, which is tens of millions of euros,” Akhmetov said of the players. “If someone wants to reduce this amount by a million, then such a decision is our right. There won’t be clearance sale!”

The conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine’s new government has sparked a political crisis and prevented Shakhtar from using its home stadium, the $400 million Donbass Arena, which hosted games including a semifinal at the 2012 European soccer championship.

“Hopefully, the mind and heart will prevail over misunderstanding, and the players will not follow temptation and fear. Especially since there is nothing to fear,” he said.

“We are ready to provide security. We will not take risks, and in any case we won’t bring players to dangerous places.”

The local soccer federation has yet to determine where Shakhtar’s games can be played. European soccer body UEFA in March said only western cities of Lviv and Kiev were capable of hosting games.

“We want to play in Donetsk very much, but, unfortunately, at the moment we cannot do it,” said Akhmetov. “We will play where we will be allowed to. We would like to do it in Kharkiv. The decision regarding the championship is taken by the Ukrainian Football Federation.”

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Five Brazilian soccer players and an Argentine are refusing to return to Ukraine’s richest soccer club because of the conflict in the east European country.
Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, soccer
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2014-52-22
Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 08:52 AM
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