Shakhtar players 'scared' to return

Six Shakhtar Donetsk players refusing to return to Ukraine from France are 'scared' of putting their life at risk.

    Costa is one of the six Shakhtar players who stayed back in France after a friendly against Lyon [Getty Images]
    Costa is one of the six Shakhtar players who stayed back in France after a friendly against Lyon [Getty Images]

    One of the six Shakhtar Donetsk players refusing to return to Ukraine has said he is not abandoning the club, but is scared of putting his life at risk.

    Douglas Costa - along with fellow Brazilians Alex Teixeira, Fred, Dentinho and Ismaily, plus Argentine striker Facundo Ferreira - refused to travel from France to Ukraine following a friendly against Lyon on Saturday.

    The players' action came two days after 298 people aboard a Malaysian Airlines flight died when their plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine.

    I have no problem with Shakhtar. I like the club, the people, the city, but I am afraid about other conflict situations

    Douglas Costa, Shakhtar Donetsk footballer

    "I wish to clarify that I am not abandoning the club. I am scared. Everything that we read, see or hear is that the situation in the country is not good," a statement posted on Costa's Instagram account said. "We don't know what kind of conditions we would train in and even less play in.

    "To play, we need to travel. What kind of security will we have? I have no problem with Shakhtar. I like the club, the people, the city, but I am afraid about other conflict situations and possibly, when we are travelling, when we are not with our families, that something worse could happen."

    Sergei Palkin, Shakhtar's CEO, gave assurances that UEFA is on the club's side, coming up with official documents from the governing body of European football.

    "UEFA recommended that the players who left the team without permission come back to Ukraine as soon as possible," Palkin told the club's website. "Players' safety is the main priority for our club. No one is going to take them to the cities facing the military operations or if there is the least shred of safety concerns."

    Shakhtar are scheduled to open the new season with a Super Cup match against Dynamo Kiev later on Tuesday in Lviv in the far west of the country.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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