By Phil Caplan, Date: 7/4/14
The Ukrainian Championship has begun despite the ongoing political crisis that has already forced their European Championship B tie against Russia to be switched from its original venue, Kharkov.
Last season, six clubs competed in the top division.
The UFRL expanded it to eight for 2014, playing in two regional divisions with the top two from each going on to play in a finals series but two Group B clubs – KEPU from Simferopol and Patriot from Sevastopol – are from the Crimea and travel is now more complicated than it was before the crisis.
If necessary, the UFRL will elevate two clubs from the second division to take their place.
UFRL president Artur Martyrosyan, himself a native of Kharkov, demonstrated the determination amongst Ukraine’s rugby league community to carry on despite the obstacles. “We assessed the situation in the country and the UFRL clubs decided to proceed with the competition in spite of the difficulties,” he said.
“‘Ukraine begins with us’ is the new slogan of the UFRL, and we are optimistic about the future,” he added.
The season got underway with matches in Kharkov and Kryvyi Rog.
Current champions Legion XIII from Kharkov beat Titan from Donetsk 60-8 to get their campaign off to a dominant start and in Ukraine’s steel city, Kryvyi Rog Rhinos were beaten by Krivbas RLFC.