Nobody knows what will happen in the years ahead for Ukraine, the country locked in a bloody conflict with the tyrannical Vladimir Putin and Russia.
But the hope is that they recover from the shock of war in the foreseeable future, and after a rebuilding project are able to return to their former standing.
Parts of the country remain untouched by the bombs and the gunfights, and so a number of major stadiums and sporting arenas are still standing.
And that’s one of the reasons that Ukraine has declared its interest in hosting the 2030 football World Cup, and they will be added to the mandate put forward to UEFA by fellow bidders Spain and Portugal.
The footballing authorities in Spain and Portugal had revealed their intention to launch a joint bid for the sport’s flagship competition last year, and they are said to be happy to allow Ukraine to also come on board. The latter has previously co-hosted the European Championships back in 2012.
“The joint bid is more than a symbol of faith in our joint victory. Ukraine will endure, prevail and be rebuilt thanks to the solidarity of its partners,” said the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The bid would represent something of a logistical headache, with three countries never before co-hosting the World Cup – although that will record will end after the USA, Canada and Mexico’s combined bid won the right to host the 2026 tournament.
The triumvirate is likely to come up against rival bids from a South American collaboration thought to include Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, while everybody’s favourite ‘sportswashers’ Saudi Arabia are also likely to bid in an unlikely partnership with Egypt and Greece.
Is Football Still Taking Place In Ukraine?
Amazingly, despite the widespread shelling from enemy forces, the 2022/23 Ukrainian football season is up and running.
All of the games are being played behind closed doors, for obvious reasons, in hand-picked locations in the west of the country away from the battlelines. Security has also been stepped up considerably.
The fighting initially broke out just two days before the new season was supposed to begin, which forced authorities in the country to delay that start until the security of players, coaches and staff could be assured.
Some players even went on to join the war efforts, while clubs turned their attentions to humanitarian work and offering shelter to refugees.
Sadly, two teams – Desna Chernihiv and FC Mariupol – have been forced to withdraw from the Premier League due to the damage to their stadiums, and the Ukraine national team has temporarily moved to play their home games in Poland.
But there is still defiance on home soil, and Taras Stepanenko, the Shakhtar Donetsk veteran, believes that restarting the league has been the right thing to do.
“I think sport can help Ukraine tell our story to the world, and in Ukraine we can make people feel good,” he said.
“For us now, it’s very important.”