Even as the war in their country continues, Ukrainian soccer officials are planning to restart the soccer season in August, hoping that the renewal of games will be a morale boost, according to The Associated Press.
Andriy Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian soccer federation, told The A.P. that the relaunch would include the Ukrainian Premier League as well as lower divisions and women’s soccer.
Pavelko said he had spoken with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine “about how football has a very big power to help people think about the future, because now people, of course, are not in a good mind-set.”
The 2021-22 Ukrainian Premier League season was halted in February after the Russian invasion and was ultimately canceled. In the early days of the war, there was fighting and airstrikes throughout the country, including around the capital, Kyiv. Now that the war has surpassed 100 days, most of the fighting and shelling is taking place in the far eastern regions of the country. Kyiv and other cities have been able to restore some semblance of normalcy.
Players on the men’s national team, meanwhile, have assembled for a World Cup qualifying game in Wales. After beating Scotland on Wednesday, they now face Wales, with the winner advancing to the World Cup in Qatar in November. That deciding match is on Sunday.