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Ex-Chelsea star Shevchenko begs sporting world not to forget Ukraine – Sporting Life

Former Chelsea and Milan star Andriy Shevchenko has issued a plea to the sporting world to “not forget” about Ukraine, but has saluted the plan to restart the national league in the country.

“We don’t have to forget what’s going on in Ukraine. Russians keep bombing and the war has never stopped,” Shevchenko, who had both captained and coached the Ukraine national team, told CNN.

“Personally, it’s very hard for me, I still feel frustrated about what happened.

“I sometimes asked the same question and couldn’t find the answer, but now we only have one direction, we need to win this war and start to rebuild the country.”

 

Shevchenko and tennis star Elina Svitolina have become ambassadors of UNITED 24, an organisation established by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to support donations for the Ukrainian war effort.

It is an initiative which has so far raised $166 million (£137million /€163 million) so far.

Shevchenko paid tribute to Polish tennis star Iga Swiatek, who organised a charity fundraising match against Agnieszka Radwańska last month.

“This is very important because, at the moment, athletes are icons for the younger generation,” Shevchenko insisted.

“For people to take a position against the war is very important, to send the message across the world to be against the war and to support peace in Ukraine.”

This week, he visited refugee children and a centre in Warsaw and also recognised the contribution of Polish football star Robert Lewandowski for his contributions raising money and awareness of the war.

Lewandowski had worn an armband in Ukrainian colours whilst playing for Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski also ended an endorsement deal with Chinese technology giants Huawei amid reports that they had given support to the Russians.

Shevchenko remains in close contact with the Ukrainian President.

“I’m here as part of the UNITED24 platform, to bring awareness and talk about the war to try to find the funds for humanitarian and medical aid, because this is what, at this moment, Ukraine needs,” he said.

“We need some support to keep going for our future, our independence, and our democratic way.

“The message is very clear, since the war started, Ukraine needs a lot of help.”

Shevchenko also highlighted the importance of the reaction of Scottish fans during June’s FIFA World Cup qualifier between Scotland and Ukraine in Glasgow.

“It was incredible to sit in the crowd of Scottish people and have incredible support for Ukraine.

“I felt like we were playing at home because the people united around the terrible war in Ukraine and wanted Ukraine to do well.”

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Although Ukraine’s national team are expected to play their final Nations League match against Scotland next month in Krakow, Shevchenko has welcomed plans to resume the domestic league on home soil.

Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Guttsait has indicated that matches would be played behind closed doors in stadiums equipped with safety measures.

“It’s very important for the people, for the rest of the world that we can send the message that Ukraine is there,” Shevchenko said.

“Even if we’re at war inside the country, we are going to fight because we want to also live like normal countries, normal lives.”

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