In the autumn Shakhtar Donetsk played Real Madrid in the Champions League, now the club plays a role in humanitarian efforts in Ukraine following the invasion of Russian forces
Normality is another world for Shakhtar Donetsk. When Russia invaded Ukraine, football was stopped and the lives of the players, coaches, staff and fans were turned upside down in an instant. There was no time to waste with lives at stake as the autumn’s Champions League games against Real Madrid and Internazionale quickly became a distant memory.
Sergei Palkin, the chief executive, has been at the forefront of the club’s humanitarian efforts and ensuring the safety of players from the academy to the first-team captain. Critical decisions were constantly needed as the invasion began, a world away from transfer and contract negotiations, as Shakhtar looked to use their influence to make a positive impact as football takes a backseat during the conflict.