Ukraine's Shakhtar set for valuable Champions League upgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk is heading directly to the next Champions League group stage after Villarreal was eliminated in the semifinals.Amid so much turmoil in Ukrainian soccer, the upgrade should guarantee tens of millions of euros dollars in Champions League prize money next season for Shakhtar, which has been touring Europe playing charity games in exile from Russias invasion.Villarreals 5-2 aggregate loss to Liverpool ensured the title will be won by a team that already qualified for next seasons Champions League through their domestic league finish.
Amid so much turmoil in Ukrainian soccer, the upgrade should guarantee tens of millions of euros (dollars) in Champions League prize money next season for Shakhtar, which has been touring Europe playing charity games in exile from Russia's invasion.
Villarreal's 5-2 aggregate loss to Liverpool ensured the title will be won by a team that already qualified for next season's Champions League through their domestic league finish. Real Madrid and Manchester City play in the other semifinals second leg on Wednesday.
The entry in next season's competition that UEFA protects for the defending champion can now pass to the highest-ranked national league that does not already have a direct place in the group stage starting in September.
Shakhtar led the Ukraine Premier League standings when the season was abandoned last month with no official title to be awarded. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, one day before the league was to resume after a two-month winter break.
UEFA should formally confirm Ukraine's allocation of European competition entries within weeks.
The financial security offered by Champions League soccer should help Shakhtar find stability amid uncertainty for Ukraine soccer. It is unclear how many players, especially from abroad, it can retain and sign for next season, or where the squad will practice and play.
Still, Shakhtar has been living with uncertainty in exile for eight years. The team has not played in Donetsk since 2014 when forced out by Russian-backed conflict in its home region of eastern Ukraine. It is now the scene of intense fighting in the third month of the war.
In the same season, Dynamo Kyiv received just 7.5 million euros (USD 7.9 million) from playing in the second-tier Europa League.
Dynamo was second in the suspended Ukrainian standings and is currently set to begin the Champions League in July at the second qualifying round stage. Dynamo, which is also touring playing charity games, would need to beat three opponents to reach the group stage.
Russia already lost interim rulings at CAS in those appeal cases in March.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)