A Ukrainian community in southern Brazil has decided to turn its local soccer team into FC Mariupol, a top-flight club disbanded after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in a show of solidarity with the war-torn country.
AA Batel, a team from the Prudentopolis region in Parana, said on Monday they will take on Mariupol’s kit, crest and logo a year after the club’s facilities and stadium were destroyed in the invasion which Moscow calls a special military operation.
“The club (Mariupol) represents the identity of our community and our community is more than 70% Ukrainian and Ukrainian descendants,” said AA Batel President Alex Lopes.
“Ukraine has always been incredibly supportive of great Brazilian football talent and became an important gateway for players to enter the European market.
“This is the least we could do to help keep their club alive and give hope to Ukrainians all across the world.”
Mariupol Vice President Andriy Sanin added: “We’re so grateful for this warm welcome by AA Batel.
“The war has been devastating to our city, but to have this football team from halfway around the world offer to keep our name alive during this dark time in our history – it’s impossible to express how much this means to us.”
Premier League club Mariupol, founded in 1992, have competed in the qualifying rounds for the UEFA Cup and its replacement the Europa League, most recently in the 2019-20 season.
Source : Deccan Herald