KIEV, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The president of Dynamo Kiev football club, Igor Surkis, has suggested transferring the battlefield between the protesters and law enforcers from Grushevsky Street in central Kiev to a football field at the Dynamo stadium.
“I agree with Yevgeny Levchenko, a former player for Ukraine’s national football team, who suggests holding a reconciliation match between the pro-European protesters and members of the Berkut riot police unit,” Surkis told Itar-Tass.
Yevgeny Levchenko was Ukraine’s national football team’s midfielder in 2002-2009. He made his first steps in football in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. Later on, he played for the Central Army Sport Club (CSKA), Saturn (Moscow) and western clubs. Levchenko has offered the protesters and policemen to settle their differences on a football field.
For his part, Igor Surkis said he was ready to provide a warm indoor arena in Koncha-Zaspa, Dynamo’s training base, to achieve peace and accord in Ukrainian society.
“I think a reconciliation match could be played in warm and comfortable conditions so that the game passes in a friendly atmosphere,” Surkis went on to say.
Protesters in Kiev have said they welcome the idea. They have already started training directly on European Square where the Grushevsky Street begins. In a government quarter located a little bit up the Grushevsky Street, Berkut policemen and internal troops are also playing football.
“We are playing for ourselves just to keep warm,” a Berkut policeman told Itar-Tass. But playing football with the protesters is not in their immediate plans.
“For a start, we want radically minded demonstrators to calm down and stop provoking us,” a Berkut policeman said.
Igor Surkis, the Dynamo Kiev president, described the police-protestor clashes that broke out outside the Dynamo stadium in Kiev on January 19 as a rebellion.
Surkis said that no one would benefit from such actions but damage could easily be caused to the stadium named after Ukraine’s football legend Valery Lobanovsky and a monument to him which has recently been relocated outside the stadium.
The columns at the entrance to the Dynamo stadium were badly damaged during the recent riots on Grushevsky Street. Lobanovsky’s portrait on one of the columns was burnt down. The protesters put a cap, spectacles and a mask made of the Ukrainian national flag on Lobanovsky’s monument.
Surkis said that an act of vandalism against the Valery Lobanovsky monument was lawless. “The idea behind putting the monument to Lobanovsky outside the stadium gates was to make it possible for people to see it and lay flowers. People have no right to treat the monument in such a way,” Surkis went on to say.
Pyotr Poroshenko, a leading businessman and parliament deputy, offered his help in repairing the columns and the monument. But Surkis replied the Dynamo club would repair the stadium entrance on its own.
“However, it’s not the most important thing today. It’s much more important that everything what is happening now end without victims. We will repair the stadium ourselves. The club will do everything possible to restore the stadium and the monument,” Surkis stressed.