Urgent Ukraine message to UEFA

Andrej Pawelko stood in front of a bomb crater. The President of the Ukrainian Association wore a protective vest when he reported in a shaky live video from a destroyed stadium in Chernihiw on Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian football community saves human life, saves the life of children," the 46-year-old conveyed to the delegates of the UEFA Congress in Vienna. It was quiet in the conference hall of the Mass of Austria's capital. Dealing with the Russian attack war in Ukraine remains a tightrope walk for football.

The European umbrella organization had excluded Russian associations from all competitions and also moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris-but the Russian association remains part of the UEFA for the time being. In Vienna, Alexander Alajew, the young general secretary of the RFU, was on site. He didn't want to comment.

no statements about further sanctions

Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin avoided clear statements about further sanctions against the RFU that it was "premature" to talk about it. "I would not rule out anything, but I wouldn't say that it would happen in the future," said the Slovenian at noon during the press conference. "We hope that this madness will end as soon as possible." Against a general suspicion, the officials are automatically close to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Ceferin defended herself.

"Football is undoubtedly the loser. One of the losers, because we players, coaches, coaches and fans who have nothing to do with the current situation, take their passion and dreams," said the UEFA president during his congress speech, in who he listed other points where football always won. "But if the UEFA imposes unprecedented sanctions, football tries to make its tiny contribution to society and the politicians in Europe that are committed to peace."

Then Pawelko reported live. Despite sound problems, the 46-year-old was able to deliver his message from the bizarre-looking scenery under a bright blue sky in the bombed stadium. "Behind me you see the stadium that was hit. You can see that the field was completely destroyed. We were bombarded, even today in the region, bombs have been hit here," said the leader of the association in the North Ukrainian area.

Ukraine wins in the benefit game

Ukraine President Zelenskyy delivers impassioned speech at MSC 2022 | DW News

He did not have the "moral law" to leave Ukraine and travel to Vienna for the UEFA Congress, said Pawelko, according to the translation of the umbrella organization. "But I am sure that we will discuss important things together at the next congress."

A few hours after Pawelko's impressive appearance, the Ukrainian national team and Borussia Mönchengladbach set an emotional Russianing sign for peace in a benefit game. The focus was on solidarity and concrete help. Most of the 20,223 spectators sang and clapped in the 2-1 (1: 1) of Ukraine in the Borussia Park for both teams. Among the fans were numerous Ukrainians who were allowed to be there for free. It was the first game for the national team since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

The game should help Ukraine on two levels. The complete money gain benefits people who suffer from the war. But the encounter was also important in terms of Russian.

National players who played in their home country before the war lack the competition practice. The selection is scheduled to make the semi-finals of the World Cup playoffs in Scotland on June 1st. If Ukraine wins the encounter, four days later she plays against Wales for participating in the World Cup in Qatar. "It is very important for our national team and for our country that we can do it too," said former Bundesliga professional Andrej Woronin at the stadium microphone.

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