The political crisis in Ukraine is affecting more than the the country’s international relations — it’s also affecting its soccer and hockey seasons.
Regarding the former, confusion erupted Monday night after rumors spread that Ukraine’s soccer federation president, Anatoliy Konkov, would not be sending the national team to Cyprus for a March 5 exhibition game against the United States. Last week, Konkov was forced to move the game from Kharkiv, Ukraine, to Cyprus because of safety concerns. However, several reports that surfaced Monday night claimed Konkov canceled the game after Reuters published a statement Konkov made on Ukraine’s ICTV channel: “If we do not have an opportunity to play on home soil, why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for your country? We play for our people and country. Our team do not fly to Cyprus and stay at home.”
But either something was lost in translation or Konkov had a change of heart because later Monday night, U.S. Soccer confirmed via Twitter that the match will go on Wednesday as planned in Cyprus.
On #USAvUKR: ″The Football Federation of Ukraine confirmed that their team will travel to Cyprus and the match will proceed as scheduled.”— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 4, 2014
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s only Kontinental Hockey League team, Donbass Donetsk, is practically begging international competition to continue coming to the country for playoff competition. “We have provided all the documents that it is safe to hold games in Donetsk,” Donbass team president Boris Kolesnikov told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti Monday. “We haven’t spent two years to get into the playoffs just to play home games on the territory of another club.”
If Kolesnikov gets his way, Latvia’s Dinamo Riga will travel to the eastern Ukrainian city Friday for the first round of playoffs.