Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar starts peace-themed tour



ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Wearing the names of heavily bombarded cities on its jerseys, Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar Donetsk opened a series of charity games on a government-backed “Global Tour for Peace” with a 1-0 loss at Greek league leader Olympiakos on Saturday.


The tour aims to raise money for Ukraine’s military in the war against Russia, and also help Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war.


Shakhtar is also set to play Fenerbahce, Hajduk Split and Lechia Gdansk, with other opponents still to be confirmed. Soccer clubs around Europe have been offering to play games against Ukrainian clubs and host youth players after soccer in the country was shut down when Russia invaded in February.


Shakhtar was already displaced from its original home of Donetsk in 2014.


At Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus on Saturday, Shakhtar players replaced their names on the back of their jerseys with those of cities bombarded by Russian forces, including Mariupol.