SHAKHTAR DONETSK will base themselves in Kiev and play their home games in the western city of Lviv this coming season due to the ongoing troubles in eastern Ukraine.
Shakhtar beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in Lviv in the Ukrainian Supercup on Tuesday night, and coach Mircea Lucescu revealed after the match that the Arena Lviv - some 600 miles from Donetsk - would become a temporary home for the club until the situation in eastern Ukraine stabilised.
“We will play all of our home games at the Arena Lviv,” Lucescu said after the match. “We got the okay to play in this city.
“We’ll train and reside in Kiev, and Arena Lviv will be our home arena. The team liked the city and the atmosphere here was great.”
Asked when the club would return to the Donbass Arena, he added: “We do not know yet.”
Donetsk is currently controlled by pro-Russian rebels, with the Ukrainian army attempting to regain control of the city.
The situation has already led to a number of Shakhtar players refusing to return to the country for the start of the season.
Alex Teixeira, Fred, Dentinho, Douglas Costa, Facundo Ferreyra and Ismaily decided against flying back to Ukraine following Saturday’s friendly against Lyon in France because of concerns over the conflict which is raging in the region.
The club have claimed the players are trying to use the situation to agitate for a move elsewhere, but Douglas Costa denied that on his Instagram page on Tuesday.
“I like the club, the people, the city, but I’m afraid,” he said. “We want to stay at the club, but we must have risk-free working conditions.”