| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Ukraine crisis: Football’s first reported losses as two Ukrainian players killed during Russian invasion

The Russian war on Ukraine has led to the killing of two Ukrainian footballers, among hundreds of people that have been killed and now FIFPro has announced the tragic death of Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martnenko.

“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and team-mates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, football’s first reported losses in this war. May they both rest in peace,” said FIFPRO in a statement.
The 21-year-old youth-team player Sapylo, who was with second-division Karpaty Lviv, lost his life during a battle near Kyiv. Reports mentioned that he had joined the army as a tank commander.

Karpaty Lviv called Sapylo a “hero” as the club confirmed that the player was killed last Friday. The statement read: “We cherish the eternal memory of this hero.”

On the other hand, the 25-year-old Martynenko, who was an amateur player with regional club FC Gostomel, lost his life when his apartment was bombed. Reports stated that his mother also died.
FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia’s national teams and clubs from international football until further notice due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move makes it likely that Russia will be excluded from this year’s World Cup and the women’s Euro 2020 tournament.

“FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice,” UEFA said in a statement.

Russia were scheduled to host Poland in a World Cup qualifying playoff on March 24 and if they remain suspended at that time, they would be out of the World Cup and unable to progress to the finals in Qatar in November.

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