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Developing football in Ukraine

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Ukraine has emerged as a competitive footballing nation and has a clear plan in place to keep that growth going with the aim of having one million people engaged with the game by 2024.

Overview

Source: UEFA grassroots survey (2019)

Being able to co-host UEFA EURO 2012, as well as hosting the UEFA Champions League final in 2018, was extremely important for the promotion and development of the game in Ukraine.

In 2016, the UAF launched an ambitious new strategy focused on infrastructure development, educational and management processes, promotion of the game in different parts of Ukraine, and support for children's and women's football.

  • Coach education – In addition to traditional coach training, the country has introduced a new diploma course for children's and grassroots coaches, which is provided free and online to reduce barriers to entry. The launch of a new online platform for football schools and coaches is also in the pipeline, which will allow the association to better organise all education and training programmes across the nation.
  • Drive participation – Working with the UEFA Grow team, the UAF is increasing the number of players in Ukraine, reorganising league structures and promoting the involvement of women.
  • Esports – With an eye on the future, and necessitated by the pandemic, the UAF has invested in efootball, organising national competitions, and competing at UEFA eEURO 2021.
  • Assistance for the regions – Despite the effects of the pandemic, and thanks in part to UEFA HatTrick funding, the UAF was able to ensure regional associations received ongoing support, meaning football could return quickly once restrictions were lifted.
  • Fair football – The UAF continues to challenge match-fixing, detecting 20 suspicious games in 2020, down from 41 in 2019. 

UEFA support

UEFA’s HatTrick programme, which channels EURO funds into football development across Europe, has helped the UAF improve its footballing infrastructure across the country.

By focusing on building a series of full-size and mini artificial pitches, the association has been able to ensure more communities throughout Ukraine have access to high-quality, year-round facilities, crucial to a country where harsh weather conditions often make natural outdoor surfaces unplayable during the winter. Since 2015, the UAF has been able to build more than 2.5 times the number that had previously been constructed since 1991.

In turn, this means more children and grassroots players can enjoy the game more regularly, increasing the number of registered players and raising the level of the game.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Ukraine

Set up in 2015, the UEFA Foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Cup of Trust

Created in 2019, the Cup of Trust is a crime prevention programme that brings together police officers, physical education teachers and young teenagers, aiming to foster friendly and trusting relationships between children and law enforcement officials.

With additional backing from UNICEF Ukraine, the initiative will continue throughout 2021 and 2022, creating 100 mixed teams of children, led by police officers, to take part in regional competitions with the aim of reaching the national finals.

As well as promoting respect, teamwork and healthy lifestyles, the Cup of Trust helps teach officials and educators how to use sport as a safeguarding tool, creating a safe environment for sport within the community.

Timeline

©AFP

Association history

1991: A Ukrainian football federation is set up as a self-sufficient legal entity on 6 March 1991. Until then, Ukraine has been part of the USSR Football Federation with its clubs contesting the Soviet championship; they withdraw after the nation gains independence in December 1991.
1992: Between February and June, the UAF runs its first league championship for non-amateur teams and stages the inaugural edition of the Ukrainian Cup. The honour of becoming Ukraine's first domestic champions goes to SC Tavriya Simferopol, while FC Chornomorets Odesa claim the cup.
2004: Andriy Shevchenko becomes the first Ukrainian to be named European Footballer of the Year since the country's independence, following in the footsteps of Oleh Blokhin and Igor Belanov, winners in 1975 and 1986 respectively.
2009: FC Shakhtar Donetsk lift the UEFA Cup, beating Germany's Werder Bremen 2-1 after extra time.
2018: Kyiv hosts the UEFA Champions League final as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1.

National team competitions

2006: Ukraine's national side make their debut in the finals of a major championship when they reach the last eight at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
2012: Ukraine co-hosts UEFA EURO 2012 with neighbours Poland. Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv are the four chosen host cities in Ukraine, with Spain beating Italy 4-0 in the final at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv. Ukraine finish third in their group, beating Sweden but losing to France and England.
2016: The country qualifies outright for its first EURO, but finish bottom of a tough group, losing all three games.
2019: Under Shevchenko's leadership, Ukraine top a EURO 2020 qualifying group that includes reigning champions and inaugural UEFA Nations League winners Portugal.

Andrii Pavelko
Andrii Pavelko©UAF

President

Andrii Pavelko

Nationality: Ukrainian
Date of Birth: 7 October 1975
Association president since: 2015

Yuriy Zapisotskiy
Yuriy Zapisotskiy©UAF

General secretary

Yuriy Zapisotskiy

Nationality: Ukrainian
Date of Birth: 28 April 1982
General secretary since: 2015

Ukrainian Association of Football website