At least seven foreign players for two top Ukrainian football teams have refused to return to the country as tensions mount after the Malaysia Airlines crash, media reported on Sunday, AFP reports.
Six players for champions Shakhtar Donetsk and an Argentine with Metalist Kharkiv are too worried for their safety, the reports said.
The six Donetsk players refused to fly back to Ukraine after their side were beaten 4-1 by Lyon in a friendly on Saturday in the French town of Annecy, ITAR-TASS news agency said.
It named five of the players as Brazilians Alex Teixeira, Fred, Douglas Costa, Dentinho and Argentine Facundo Ferreyra.
“I don’t want to give any comments for the moment,” Shakhtar general manager Sergei Palkin was quoted as saying by Tribuna information site.
Meanwhile, Metalist Kharkiv’s Argentine midfielder Sebastian Blanco refused to return to Ukraine from a training camp in Austria, the R-Sport agency reported.
“After the Malaysian plane’s crash I have no intention to return to Ukraine,” the 26-year-old footballer was quoted as saying.
“The situation there is currently abnormal. I decided to stay in Buenos Aires.”
The Ukrainian Football Federation is maintaining the start of the national championship for 25 July despite the troubles in the east of the country, heightened by the apparent shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines jet on Thursday.