Ukraine coach ‘shocked’ by decision not to release players
Ukraine national football team manager Oleksandr Petrakov has expressed dismay at his country's most successful club, Dynamo Kiev, for refusing to release their players for a training camp in Slovenia ahead of an important World Cup qualifier semifinal against Scotland.
Ukraine and Scotland were originally set to meet on March 24 until Russia's military operation in Ukraine saw the fixture postponed.
After beating Austria 2-0, Wales are currently waiting to see who their opponent will be in the final on June 5 after the semifinal is at last played four days earlier, yet Dynamo will not allow their players to report for an important training camp due to a planned schedule of charity matches.
Responding to the development, Petrakov, who succeeded AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko after Euro 2020 for the Qatar 2022 qualifying cycle, said that he was "shocked" by Dynamo's decision.
"First of all, I would like to remind [everyone], if, perhaps, someone has forgotten: at the present time, Ukrainian clubs, unfortunately, are deprived of the opportunity to participate in official games, and only the Ukrainian national team is preparing for super-important international matches," he complained to Sport.ua.
"What official matches are Dynamo preparing for and [under which] regulations does FIFA justify its refusal to provide players on the dates indicated on the call up?" he asked.
"All domestic competitions are suspended. FIFA regulations apply to official matches, which our clubs do not currently have. What interests does the Kiev club defend now?" Petrakov went on.
Our @FIFAWorldCup Play-Off Semi-Final against Ukraine will be played on Wednesday, 1 June.The winner of this match will face Wales in a Play-Off Final on Sunday, 5 June.Tickets bought for the original Ukraine match remain valid.➡️ More information: https://t.co/o9tIUubdPJpic.twitter.com/4SDZo19LVp— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) April 14, 2022
"I would like to add that the UAF [Ukrainian Association of Football] announced its intention to organize a camp on April 29 to all our clubs, from which we invited candidates for the national team, on April 11.
"I don’t remember that by that time Dynamo had announced the schedule of charity matches, which [they mentioned] in a letter to us," Petrakov claimed.
Petrakov made a point of stressing that Dynamo's action is not supported by their players whom he is "constantly in touch with."
"I know that they are ready to come to the national team and defend the colors of Ukraine," he said.
"My message is the same: there is a call up from the national team – on May 2 you need to be in Slovenia.
"And I would like to remind the club management that permissions for temporary travel abroad were granted to football clubs by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine precisely because of the preparation of the national team for official games."
Petrakov revealed that he has already thanked other clubs for their collaboration, but then further criticized Dynamo by saying that there is "no need to come up with non-existent reasons and put spokes in the wheels during the preparatory process of the main team."
After facing Scotland on June 1 at Hampden Park, Ukraine will take on Wales in Cardiff on June 5 if they win the semifinal and progress to Qatar 2022's Group B to join Euro 2020 foes England plus the United States and Iran, should they see off Gareth Bale's men.
Three days later, on June 8, they then have the first of three UEFA Nations League Group E matches to contest starting with Ireland away before playing Armenia and the Irish again at neutral venues on June 11 and June 14.
In the same competition, Ukraine will then play Scotland on September 22 away.