Sports Desk, Jan 16 (EFE).- The president and owner of Shakhtar Donetsk Rinat Akhmetov on Monday announced he would donate $25 million to Ukraine’s war effort following the club’s sale of Ukrainian midfielder Mykhailo Mudryk to Premier League side Chelsea.
The 22-year-old was presented at Stamford Bridge on Sunday following his move for a fee of 100 million euros including add-ons, having previously been tipped for a move to Arsenal.
The eye-watering price tag was a record transfer fee for both FC Shakhtar and Ukrainian football.
Akhmetov, ranked by Forbes as Ukraine’s wealthiest man, said in a statement Monday that part of the funds would be allocated to the country’s soldiers and their families through an initiative called the Heart of Azovstal.
The project takes its name from the steel plant he owns in the southeastern city of Mariupol, which became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion last year before the its eventual fall to the occupying force.
“I am allocating $25 million (UAH 1 billion) today to help our soldiers, defenders, and their families. The money will be used to cover different needs — from providing medical and prosthetic treatment and psychological support to meeting specific requests,” the magnate said in a statement.
“Their acts of bravery are unparalleled in modern history. It is them, their sacrifice and courage that helped contain the enemy in the first months of the war and let all of us feel the inevitability of the Victory of Ukraine now.”
Akhmetov said he had “mixed feelings” about the sale of Mudryk but that it was hard to hold on to such talent amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Ukraine is fighting the horrendous and unjust war waged against us by the Russian Federation. But I am confident that we will win. And we will play a friendly against Chelsea at Donbass Arena in a Ukrainian Donetsk.”
FC Shakhtar were uprooted from their stadium following the pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region in 2014. The team first moved to Lviv, in the country’s west, before relocating again to Kyiv.
The team was forced to play its Uefa Champions League games in Poland last year due to the war, hosting the likes of Real Madrid.
Mudryk bagged two goals and seven assists for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian league last year.EFE