Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk will allocate EUR 23 mln (USD 25 mln) to aid soldiers and their families, president Rinat Akhmetov said on Monday, a day after receiving a record transfer fee for attacker Mykhailo Mudryk from Premier League club Chelsea.
Akhmetov added that Shakhtar would play a friendly against Chelsea at their Donbass Arena in “a Ukrainian Donetsk”.
Following the transfer of Mudryk to Chelsea on Sunday, Shakhtar said they “will receive EUR 70 mln (USD 76 mln) for the player and another EUR 30 mln is envisaged in bonus payments.”
The transfer is a record high for both Shakhtar and Ukrainian football. It eclipses the EUR 44 mln fee Shathktar received for Willian in 2013 from Anzhi Makhachkala.
Akhmetov said the money would be allocated as part of a project titled ‘Heart of Azovstal,’ aimed at “helping Mariupol defenders and the families of fallen soldiers”.
Ukrainian forces defending Mariupol were holed up in the Azovstal steel works for weeks as Russian forces tried to capture the city. The Ukrainian soldiers eventually surrendered in May last year.
“I am allocating USD 25 mln today to help our soldiers, defenders, and their families,” Akhmetov said in a statement on the club’s website.
“The money will be used to cover different needs – from providing medical and prosthetic treatment and psychological support to meeting specific requests.
“To ensure transparency, the project will have a professional independent team that will be in touch with the Azovstal defenders, their families, care providers, and volunteers.”
Chelsea were formerly owned by Russian Roman Abramovich, who put the club up for sale following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before it was acquired by a group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
The rise of Mykhailo Mudryk
Mykhailo Mudryk has signed a remarkable eight-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League team from West London.
The former Shakhtar was introduced to the Stamford Bridge crowd at half-time during their match against Crystal Palace on Sunday. He will wear the No 15 shirt.
The Ukrainian wide man caught the eye in the Champions League group stages with three goals and two assists in his six matches.
As well as his form in the Champions League, Mudryk has also impressed in the Ukrainian Premier League, registering seven goals and six assists as his Shakhtar side sit second in the table.
Mudryk is regarded as one of the most exciting young attacking talents in European football, carving out a reputation for cutting in from the left flank with pace and power. He has been on the radar of many clubs, and to illustrate his rapid, meteoric rise he almost moved to Brentford in August during the summer transfer window.
Although Mudryk was largely unknown outside of Ukraine this time last year his impact in particular in the first half of this season points to an exciting future if he can fulfil his undoubted potential.