Shakhtar Swap Stadiums
Shakhtar Donestsk have today announced that the club have left the city of Donetsk for the following season after worries about the fans and players safety when playing at the Donbass Arena, which is situated in the heart of Donetsk.
Next season, Shakhtar will play in Lviv, in the west of Ukraine near the Polish border, and the players and staff will live out of suitcases at a hotel in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, which is over four-hundred miles away from Donetsk.
Shakhtar will play at the Arena Lviv for the next season, which held some games at Euro 2012. It has a capacity of 34,915, and will also play host to Donetsk’s other side, Metalurh Donetsk, along with the usual resident of Karpaty Lviv.
The stadium was built for the 2012 competition, with construction being started 4 years before the tournament, in 2008. The construction finished in October 2011, and cost a whopping £130,987,966.55 to build.
The first football game did not take place until the 15th November, which saw a clash between Ukraine and Austria, in which Ukraine emerged two-one winners. The first goal in the stadium fittingly saw Ukrainian Artem Milevskiy give Ukraine the lead inside sixteen minutes.
The reason for Shakhtar’s move 1,229.6 kilometres west is due to concerned fears over the player and fans safety, after shelling broke out at the club’s Kirsha Training Centre, and a bomb damaged the Donbass Arena.
The damage a bomb caused when it struck the Donbass Arena
Upon moving stadiums, Shakhtar Chairman Rinat Akhmetov told a local newspaper
“Even though it is far from ideal, we had to move. It is far from safe there, and our number one concern is our fans and players safety. We have found a good new home for the next season or so, one that can fit our many fans in. Hopefully, this move won’t unsettle anyone and the success will still be sustained, but the move was vital.”
The fifteen hour journey will put off many fans, which could see a huge decrease in Shakhtar’s ticket sales, which could affect their ability to manoeuvre in the transfer market.
However, Donetsk have more pressing worries at the moment, after Mircea Lucescu resigned over fears of his safety, they are looking for a new manager to take charge.
With Hull City boss Steve Bruce distancing himself from the job this week, Akhmetov will have to pursue other targets, but it will become increasingly harder with the current situation in Ukraine showing no signs of improving.