Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk has embarked on a peace tour, playing football in other countries to raise money following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The money from each friendly will be donated towards humanitarian aid in Ukraine, with the first stop of the ‘Global Tour for Peace’ having taken place in Athens against Olympiacos.
A crowd of 5,000 people watched the game, which ended 1-0 to Olympiacos, but saw the other seats of the 32,000-capacity Karaiskakis Stadium filled with toys that will be donated to refugee children.
The two teams replaced the logo of their sponsors with the words ‘Stop War’.
Tickets to the match cost €10 (£8/$11) with all proceeds being donated to charities helping Ukrainian refugees. However, the match was boycotted by Olympiacos supporters group ‘Gate 7’ saying that the association could not support one side or the other.
Olympiacos announced that the ‘Match for Peace’ raised €102,000 and will be “exclusively used to provide humanitarian aid to war victims and cater for the needs of refugees”.
Evangelos Marinakis, president of Olympiacos, said: “We want to spread the message that this war should end as soon as possible and no more innocent human lives be lost every day.
“Nothing more than that. We are not interested in politics, in who is right and who is wrong. What we are concerned with is for this war to stop as soon as possible.”
Shakhtar will go on to play friendlies in Poland, Turkey and Croatia as part of the peace tour.
Image: Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash