The season interrupted by a war
Despite the previous year’s season beginning as normal, it ultimately was derailed in February as Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine..
For the first time in the history of the tournament, the season was called off with no champion taking home the trophy.
With eighteen of the season’s thirty-two games played by February 24, Shakhtar Donetsk was leading the Ukrainian Premier League table. This also earned them a spot in the group stage of the Champions League.
Minus Mariupol and Chernihiv
The war has had a substantial impact on the entire country, especially in completely derailing numerous ordinary facets of everyday life. This includes sports and entertainment. For example, Russia’s invasion has already forced two teams to stop their existence - Desna Chernihiv and Mariupol.
As a result of the sustained shelling of Chernihiv in early March, the Desna club infrastructure, their home stadium, and the team base were destroyed. For Mariupol and its team’s infrastructure, the impact is even more striking. The city is one of the most affected by Russia’s aggression and is currently occupied by Russian troops.
Despite this, hope for Ukrainian football and its teams remains. It has already been announced that these teams will be guaranteed their place in the Ukrainian Premier League whenever the time comes that they become operational again.
Dynamo vs Shakhtar
All matches will be held without spectators, a very limited number of people are allowed and must have certain credentials - football players, coaches, referees, staff, match officials, representatives of accredited media, medical service, state emergency service personnel, as well as the national police.
At a distance of no more than 500 meters from the stadium there must be a bomb shelter that is capable of accommodating all those in attendance.
During the war, the stadiums in Kyiv, Lviv and Transcarpathia were in the greatest demand. Some teams planned to use venues in different cities. Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk have been playing Kyiv and Lviv to be able to remain active despite the war.
Ingulets and Alexandria want to play at "Nika" stadium in Alexandria, but so far they haven’t been able to obtain permission to do so.
Matches for both teams in the first round have been postponed. It is also unclear which of the arenas FC Lviv will prefer. Their first round match against FC Minaj has been postponed as well.
UEFA doesn’t feel it is safe to hold international fixtures in Ukraine. Three Ukrainian teams are still participating in European football leagues. Shakhtar will play their Champions League games in Warsaw, while Dynamo Kyiv will host its rivals in the Europa league in Lodz and Krakow, and FC Dnipro 1 will play their home matches in the Europa Conference League in Kosice, Slovakia.
Ukrainian football in Soviet times
Dynamo Kyiv is the most decorated club in the post soviet area. They won 13 titles in the USSR football championship. Their ‘arch-enemy’ Spartak Moscow has 12 and Dynamo Moscow 11.
Also Dnipro has already won the USSR championship twice, in 1983 and 1988, while Zarya was the best team in the Soviet Union in 1972. During the Soviet times, Dynamo Kyiv was a holder of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup twice and the UEFA Super Cup once.