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Sergei Palkin: Players’ safety is Shakhtar’s main priority

The fact that some of Shakhtar’s foreign players did not return from the training camp with the Donetsk team was mentioned many times in the mass media. Today, the topic remains relevant and even heated in social networks. The players who didn’t come back claim that they have not left the club, but simply fear the situation in Ukraine. For comments, our correspondent addressed the CEO of FC Shakhtar Sergei Palkin.

- Sergei Anatol’yevich, the issue of players’ safety is actively discussed in the press. Notably, it is done through the lens of the case of those Shakhtar players, who left the team after the Swiss training camp. What’s your take on this situation?
- I would like to stress straightaway that the issue of players’ safety is the main priority of our club. Shakhtar will base itself, train and play only in those cities where the team safety is guaranteed. Naturally, no one is going to take the players to the places where combat activity is underway or there’s at least a small hint at the insecure stay. Once happened the case with our players, who decided not to return to the territory of Ukraine, citing fears for their lives and health, we have consulted with UEFA and received the relevant documents.

- What is it?
- They officially confirmed the list of Ukraine’s cities, where, from the viewpoint of  UEFA, there are all conditions for the safe conduct of the top level matches. We will take it as a guide in our future work. Besides, UEFA recommends our players who left the team to return as soon as possible. We will forward, of course, the copies of these documents to the players and their agents.

- You mentioned a list of the UEFA-approved cities...
- Right, these are the places where the Champions League and Europa League matches have been authorized. There are four of them at the moment: Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa. We are studying the pros and cons of each option and ponder where Shakhtar will be based. But in any case, it will be one of the designated cities.

- But there was information that Shakhtar would be based in Kharkiv?
- Indeed, we have considered the city as the most suitable for us. We even did some preparatory work to ensure that the team can stay there, preparing for the games and playing their home games there. But, unfortunately, Kharkiv hasn’t got on the UEFA list to host European competitions. If this happens, we will reconsider this option.

- When will you take the decision on Shakhtar’s location?
- In the nearest future. We will immediately inform the public about the decision of our club. At the same time, I once again want to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that Shakhtar will definitely train and play home games exclusively in the cities recognized by UEFA as safe.

FC Shakhtar
Press Office