Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 0022 EAT on Wednesday 13th July.
The Ukrainian Premier League (UPL) will start again on August 23, the country’s sports minister has said, but the games will be held without spectators and the stadiums will be equipped with shelters for any air raid sirens.
The last round of fixtures was played in December before the league went on a three-month winter break. Shakhtar Donetsk were top of the league table with 47 points from 18 games, two points ahead of rivals Dynamo Kyiv.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Sport Minister Vadym Guttsait said matches will have a military presence for security, as well as the other safety provisions. The date of August 23 coincides with Ukraine’s National Flag Day.
“It is very important to resume playing football, like other national championships, in Ukraine,” he said.
“We keep competing and cheering. We keep fighting and winning. Ukrainian sport will earn victory on all fronts and cannot be stopped from progressing
Shakhtar are in the Champions League group stage next season, with sporting director Darijo Srna revealing last week that their matches will be played in the Polish capital Warsaw.
Dynamo Kyiv are due to face Fenerbahce in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Dynamo’s “home leg” will also be in Poland in the city of Lodz on July 20.
English Premier League side Everton also confirmed on Tuesday that they will host Dynamo in a pre-season friendly on July 29, with proceeds from the fixture to be donated to humanitarian charities supporting the people of Ukraine.
Much of Ukraine’s football infrastructure, such as stadiums and training grounds, has been damaged by Russian attacks and many foreign players have left Ukrainian teams after Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.