Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar starts peace-themed tour with match against Olympiakos

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Ukrainian soccer club, Shakhtar Donetsk, opened its government-backed “Global Tour for Peace” with a 1-0 loss to Greek club, Olympiakos, on Saturday at Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus.

According to AP News, the tour aims to raise money for Ukraine’s military in the war against Russia, and also help Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war.

During their match against Olympiakos, Shakhtar players replaced their names on the back of their jerseys with those of cities bombarded by Russian forces, including Mariupol.

Shakhtar captain, Taras Stepanenko, said “the names of those cities, where so many people died, will remain forever in our hearts.”

This was Shakhtar’s first game since December 2021 and was played in front of a lively contingent of Ukrainians as well as the Ukrainian ambassador to Greece, Sergii Shutenko, and Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias.

Many of Olympiakos’ hardcore fans did not attend, AP News reports. Their official fan club, called Gate 7, boycotted the game.

A small section of seats was also filled with 176 teddy bears and other children’s toys in memory of the 176 children who, Ukraine said on Saturday, have died in the war since Russia’s February 24 invasion.

Toys filling the seats. Photo: IMAGO/ANE Edition.

After a minute’s silence for the victims of war, the match began with Olympiakos’ forward Tiquinho scoring a goal in the 22nd minute.

“We thank Olympiakos for giving us the opportunity to play the game… We hope we passed our message against war and for peace,” Stepanenko said at the conclusion of the match.

Source: AP News.

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