‘Act of Humanity’: Ukrainian Plays Master in Germany | NDR.de – Sports

Status: 09.06.2022 5:23 PM

Ukrainian handball champion HK Motor Zaporozhye could play as a regular guest in Germany’s second Bundesliga next season. This gets a lot of approval. The Secretary General of the Ukrainian Handball Federation also has concerns.

In Rostock, they didn’t have to think long to give HBL the go-ahead. “After a brief consultation and without much hesitation, HC Empor Rostock has agreed to include Motor Zaporozhye in the second Bundesliga handball league,” Tobias Witttendorf, Honorary Chairman of Empor, told NDR. “This is not the time to worry, but to offer help. This is where you can offer concrete help.”

They are familiar with Empor when it comes to providing aid to Ukraine, which has terrorized Russia’s war of aggression. With the support of the city, the club has already worked to ensure that Ukrainian national under-21 team in Rostock. “If an additional contribution can be made here, the second handball in the Bundesliga will be ready to do so,” said Witttendorf.

“Zaporoshi is under fire from the Russian army. It is only a few kilometers from the front line. We can protect not only jobs here, but lives as well.”
HBL President Frank Bohmann

It is, Frank Bohmann, managing director of HBL, leaves no doubt about it. “We want to set an example for peace and give handball players the opportunity to continue practicing their profession.” At the same time, they want to protect the team, which is a few kilometers from the front line, “from Russian missiles”. The Bundesliga president vehemently rejected criticism of Zaporozhye’s inclusion in the next season: “Yes, you can always see something black and something white. But this thing is actually a human act.”

The Zaporozhye team and their families live in Düsseldorf

And in his eyes there is also a sporting advantage for the German second-tier clubs. “They are playing against a big team or else they wouldn’t be able to play. There is also a chance to really get something out of the second leg against the Ukrainians, which is about to happen now.”

Zaporozhye will be the 20th team in the league next season and will be in the table for the entire season. Only at the end of the season are the results of the club calculated. According to Baumann, participation in the First League was not possible “for reasons related to the organization of the game”: “The game plans were drawn up a long time ago, and the halls were booked. In addition, we have much tighter timing in the First League due to international commitments.

Dusseldorf provides accommodation for the team and their families. The Ukrainian champions, who want to get the training needed for a Champions League match through the Bundesliga, will play their matches at home in the 3,000-seat Castillo in Dusseldorf.

Praise and criticism from Ukraine

But the Ukrainian side also criticized the hastily compiled plan. Sasha Gladon, the former professional in the Bundesliga and the current Secretary General of the Ukrainian Handball Federation, said there are two aspects that you have to consider when it comes to the matter. In sporting, social and humanitarian terms, Gladon said, “It is of course a huge story that players and families are safe and that the team is allowed to play in the strongest second league in the world.” But if I get the go-ahead for the Ukrainian league to resume, “we’ll start too. Then the question is: What about Zaporozhye?”

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Because of Russia’s war of aggression, the game’s operations in Ukraine are currently suspended – and Bohmann doesn’t expect the situation to change any time soon. “It seems impossible that there will be competition in Ukraine next year. But it remains a temporary solution. We are not thinking more than that,” said the league president.

Gladon: ‘It’s really complicated’

The season begins in the German parliament at the beginning of September. After individual guest appearances and rehearsals by the auto players, who largely make up Ukraine’s national handball team, the “All-Season Solidarity Project” is now supported by 19 clubs from the second HBL, according to one press release. Executioners, on the other hand, are a little surprised that we still don’t have any written confirmations. I haven’t seen any document yet, and it’s not related to the club’s intentions. It is not related to any meetings. There is no written evidence of the Bundesliga handball.”

Bowman answers that there is a decision by the clubs in the second division. This could “be formalized again at our general meeting in the summer. But from our point of view, that’s for sure. In the 2022/2023 season, Zaporozhye will compete in the second Bundesliga.” Detailed planning for the coming days and weeks shouldn’t be so easy – on the contrary, Gladon believes: “It’s really complicated.”

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sports stream | 09.06.2022 | 3:25 pm

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