Professional athletes try to stay away from politics as a general rule. But in Ukraine these days, it’s increasingly difficult to do so. Players in Ukraine’s Premier League, the country’s top football division, say they are having a tough time concentrating on the game.
Helping to sow confusing in the Premier League is the fact that a couple of top teams, including front-runner Shakhtar Donetsk, are based in eastern Ukraine, currently the epicenter of disturbances kicked up by pro-Russian agitators. In addition, two of the 15 teams now competing in the top division play their home games in Crimea, a peninsula that Russia recently claimed as its own.
Conditions are especially bewildering for foreign players, such as Miguel Veloso, a 27-year-old midfielder who plays for Ukraine’s most storied football team, FC Dynamo Kyiv. Veloso is also expected to be a major contributor on Portugal’s national team in the upcoming World Cup tournament, to be held this summer in Brazil.
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