Athletes show solidarity with Ukraine
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Paris (AFP) – Pacifist banners and messages, minutes of silence or applause, Ukrainian flags, stadium illuminated in yellow and blue: the sports world called for peace on Saturday and showed its solidarity with Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
. Foot: the European championships mobilized
The Paris SG and Saint-Etienne players, who faced each other on Saturday evening, posed behind a banner bearing the words « Peace for all », the stadium announcer saying that the two clubs recalled the importance of « dialogue and diplomacy » to find peace, without however explicitly condemning the Russian intervention.
Ahead of their Premier League Matchday 27 match, Manchester United and Watford gathered behind a sign that read ‘peace’ in six languages, including Russian. The idea was suggested by German Red Devils coach Ralf Rangnick, who wore a ‘NO WAR’ badge.
At Goodison Park, Everton and Manchester City players entered the lawn with Ukrainian flags on their backs and T-shirts in the colors of Ukraine and the words « No War », respectively. On the City bench, Ukrainian player Oleksandr Zinchenko appeared in tears. During the warm-up, he had embraced his compatriot from Everton Vitaliy Mykolenko.
During Brighton-Aston Villa, the side of the « Villans », Matty Cash, recently naturalized Polish, paid tribute to his teammate in selection Tomasz Kedziora, who plays for Dynamo Kiev. After opening the scoring, he lifted his jersey to reveal the message « Tomasz Kedziora + his family, stay strong brother », with a drawn heart.
In a statement released on Friday, the Italian football federation announced its decision to delay the start of all weekend matches by five minutes.
« Without distinction, professionals and amateurs will be united in the same testimony of peace, by raising awareness among football enthusiasts and fans about respect for human life and the need to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine », explained the press release. .
Before the kick-off of the Empoli-Juventus match on Saturday afternoon, a message of support for Ukraine was broadcast on the stadium’s giant screen. The words « No War » appeared on a Ukrainian flag and cheers from the audience and players.
A message « No a la guerra » (« No to war ») is broadcast during all television broadcasts of the matches of the 26th day of La Liga.
The Spanish football federation also expressed its support for its Ukrainian counterpart via a message on social networks, condemning « strongly this war », accompanied by the symbol of peace and the hashtag #ElFutbolPorLaPaz (« football for peace ». ).
Andriy Lunin, Real Madrid’s Ukrainian goalkeeper (understudy for Thibaut Courtois), received messages of support on Friday from his teammates as well as from the club’s president, Florentino Perez. The player, very moved according to the press, was not present on the match sheet for Real’s trip to his neighbor Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening.
Bayern Munich illuminated their stadium for three hours on Friday evening in the yellow and blue colors of Ukraine, in connection with other demonstrations of support from the city of Munich.
During the victory in Frankfurt (1-0) on Saturday, the Polish striker of Bayern Robert Lewandowski wore an armband in the colors of Ukraine. « The world cannot accept what is happening there. I hope the whole world will support Ukraine (…), said the best player Fifa 2020 and 2021.
A minute of silence was observed in all Bundesliga stadiums, where the giant screens displayed a visual of the League with silhouettes holding hands with a character in the colors of Ukraine.
. Rugby: message to Twickenham
The world of rugby also made its voice heard during the Six Nations Tournament. Ahead of the English-Welsh encounter at Twickenham, the following message appeared on the stadium screens: « England and Wales strongly condemn the aggressive invasion of Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with them. »
On Twitter, World Rugby, the international rugby federation, also condemned « strongly the use of military force in Ukraine » and expressed its solidarity with « all those affected ».
. Tennis: Swiatek and « the suffering Ukraine »
The Polish Iga Swiatek, 8th player in the world and winner of Roland-Garros in 2020, dedicated her victory in the final of the Doha tournament « to all the people who suffer in Ukraine ». « Seeing these images is really moving for me. I never imagined things like this were happening in the country next to mine. »
. Basketball: « No war » on the cheeks
Thursday evening in Cordoba, during the basketball match between Spain and Ukraine (88-74) counting for the qualifications for the World Cup-2023, the Ukrainian players were warmly applauded when they got out of the bus, during the hymns and At the end of the match. Some of them had a « No war » message written in marker on the cheeks.
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