Sports in Ukraine play an essential role in shaping the popular view of the country and its culture to the residents and the rest of the world.
Currently, at war, Ukraine has been dominated by Russia since the 18th century. It also suggests that a portion of sports in the country is overshadowed by Russian culture as its regional deviation. For the Ukrainian culture, sports began its development in Austria-Hungary. It was also influenced by several European physical culture movements like pan-Slavic Sokol, Germanic Turners, and so on.
Football and wrestling have been popular since the 19th century. Ukraine has benefited from Russia’s emphasis on physical education. Hence, the country was left with numerous stadiums, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and other athletic facilities after the collapse of the Soviet Union took place. The sports or athletic movements in Ukraine have spread like wildfire since the second half of the 19th century.
What is the National Sports of Ukraine?
Football is a popular sport in Ukraine and also its national sport. It is governed by the Football Federation of Ukraine. The Football Federation of Ukraine or FFU hosts many football championships. This sport is not limited to men alone but is equally popular among women, handicapped, and children.
Regional football is also a popular sports activity among Ukrainians. The format of football in Ukraine varies from league to cup-type competition. The former is referred to as round-robin competition, while the latter is addressed as elimination competition. Besides this, FFU also hosts numerous invitational tournaments in Ukraine and organizes several national teams that compete at various international tournaments.
Football Competitions in Ukraine
Ukraine boasts well-planned professional football competitions among men, inherited from the Soviet Union. The entire organization of these events is delegated by many sports authorities, ranging from the FFU to the Ukrainian Premier League (UPL) and even the Professional Football League of Ukraine (PFL).
The strongest football league in the country is the Ukrainian Premier League. Earlier, it was addressed as Vyshcha League. The second-ranking league is the Persha Liha or First League. The third one is the Druha Liha (Second League), divided into two groups, East (B) and West (A).
Ukraine also hosts amateur-level national football competitions governed by the Ukrainian Football Amateur Association. Teams from all the professional leagues take part in the Ukrainian Cup. The winners then participate in the Ukrainian Super Cup.
Most Famous Footballers of Ukraine
Andriy Shevchenko is the most recognizable footballer in Ukraine. Now retired, he is also considered a national hero of the country.
In 2012, Ukraine, along with Poland became a host to the UEFA European Football Championship.
Considering the grim situation in Ukraine, many footballers worldwide have shown their concern and raised their support to the country. Many people are extending their solidarity with the country in the form of their tweets and updates on social media.
Some brands, such as Adidas, which sponsors many football events, have suspended their Russian partnership. Poland and the Czech Republic have also refused to participate in the World Cup qualification.
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