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MOSCOW, July 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) recommended Ukraine’s Donetsk Shakhtar FC foreign players, who abandoned the club last Saturday citing security concerns in the country, to rejoin the team, the club’s director general said on Tuesday.
Six foreign players from the Dontesk Shakhtar FC skipped the plane back to Ukraine after a friendly match against Lyon FC on Saturday and decided to remain in France rather than return to conflict-stricken Ukraine, also citing security concerns.
Brazilian's Douglas Costa, Fred, Dentinho, Alex Teixiera, Ismaily and Argentinian Facundo Ferreyra had their combined transfer deals at the Shakhtar FC worth a total of €57 million ($77 million).
Shakhtar FC Director General Sergei Palkin said in an interview with ITAR-TASS that the club does not intend to resort to harsh financial penalties in regard to the players.
“As for the penalties, they are all stated in their contracts,” Palkin said. “However, our main task is not to punish the boys but to convince them that the return to the club does not pose a threat to their lives or health and is absolutely safe.”
CNN reported on Sunday that Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov threatened with financial penalties for the players in case they refuse to continue playing for the club, which is scheduled to play rivals Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.
"Players have contracts that they have to abide by,” CNN quoted Akhmetov as saying. “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," he added.
AP news agency reported on Tuesday citing 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder Douglas Costa that Shakhtar FC foreign players, who went AWOL from the club on Saturday, wanted to practice in Switzerland while the conflict continues in Ukraine and they were not seeking transfers to other football clubs.
"I like the club, the people, the city, but I'm afraid," AP quoted Costa as saying on his Instagram account. "We want to stay at the club, but we must have risk-free working conditions."
Costa added that he and his teammates are "all run a deadly risk if we are in the region."