Skip to main content

Shakhtar Donetsk president issues warning to AWOL players

updated 8:22 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Brazilian Douglas Costa is one of six footballers refusing to return to Ukraine.
Brazilian Douglas Costa is one of six footballers refusing to return to Ukraine.
  • Six Shakhtar Donetsk players refuse to return to Ukraine after playing against Lyon
  • Five Brazilians and one Argentine remained in France
  • Shakhtar is unable to play matches at its Donbass Arena stadium

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- The president of Ukraine's top football club has warned six of its players who have gone AWOL they will "suffer" if they don't return to the conflict-torn country.

Shakhtar Donetsk had played a friendly against Lyon on Saturday, but after the game five Brazilians and one Argentine remained in France rather than travel back to Ukraine. On Monday there was fighting in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

"I don't rule out that these players will return to the team quickly, and some of them -- tomorrow," Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov told the club's official website.

"Players have contracts that they have to abide by. If they do not come, I think, they will be the first to suffer. Each of them has a minimum release clause, which is tens of millions of euros.

"If someone wants to reduce this amount by a million, then such a decision is our right."

Akhmetov also assured Brazilians Douglas Costa, Fred, Dentinho, Alex Teixiera, Ismaily and Facundo Ferreyra of Argentina they have "nothing to fear" if and when they return to Ukraine.

"Hopefully, the mind and heart will prevail over misunderstanding, and the players will not follow temptation and fear," said the Shakhtar president.

"We are ready to provide security. We will not take risks and in any case we won't bring players to dangerous places."

Shakhtar, which regularly features in Europe's top competition the Champions League, play rivals Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian Super Cup Tuesday, a curtain raiser to the Ukraine domestic league season.

"Despite the fact that we will be weakened in the Super Cup match against Dynamo Kyiv, our players will do their best to make the game hard for our opponents," added Akhmetov.

The ongoing unrest in the region means Shakhtar, the reigning Ukrainian champion, is unable to play matches at its Donbass Arena stadium.

The Ukrainian football season is due to start this weekend, with Shakhtar scheduled to host Metalurh Zaporizhya.

It is unclear where the match will be played, although Akhmetov would like it to take place in Kharkiv, a city over 150 miles north of Donetsk.

"We want to play in Donetsk very much, but, unfortunately, at the moment we cannot do it.

"The decision regarding the championship is taken by the Ukrainian Football Federation. Through our game, we will call for peace and try to bring joy to our fans."

How did Brazil handle the World Cup?
Germany celebrates 4th World Cup win

Of the six AWOL players, playmaker Douglas Costa is arguably the most valuable.

The 23-year-old has previously been linked with Manchester United, but Akhmetov ruled out a "clearance sale."

Prior to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash last weeks, European governing body UEFA's Emergency Panel decided its European club competition matches involving Ukrainian clubs would be allowed to take place in Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa, in addition to Kiev and Lviv.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk will play in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League while Chornomorets Odessa are in the Europa League.

UEFA's Emergency Panel also ruled Ukrainian and Russian teams cannot be drawn against each other in its competitions.

That ensured Dnipro were not drawn against Russian club Zenit St Petersburg when the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw was made last week.

Read: Ukraine-Russia crisis won't force Shakhtar to sell top players

Read: Germany captain Lahm retires from international football

Read: Football 1-0 U.S. Sport

Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.