Shakhtar Donetsk move training and games over Ukraine conflict

Arena Lviv
Shakhtar Donetsk will play at the Arena Lviv this season

Shakhtar Donetsk will play home games more than 600 miles to the west in Lviv because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Six foreign players refused to return to Donetsk, the main pro-Russia rebel-held city in Ukraine's east, on Saturday after a friendly in France.

Alex Teixeira, Fred, Dentinho, Douglas Costa, Facundo Ferreyra and Ismaily did not fly back after the game in Lyon.

The squad will now reside and train in Kiev and travel to the Arena Lviv for Champions League and domestic games.

Fighting has continued in the Donetsk region in recent days, with government forces advancing near the pro-Russian rebel-controlled regional capital.

Club president Rinat Akhmetov had suggested the six absent players, five of them from Brazil with Ferreyra hailing from Argentina, were using the conflict to agitate for a move elsewhere.

Douglas Costa
Douglas Costa is one of six players who refused to return to Donetsk

He had warned they faced sanctions if they did not return, saying there was "nothing to fear".

Douglas Costa denied the claim on his Instagram page on Tuesday, posting: "We want to stay at the club, but we must have risk-free working conditions."

Shakhtar beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in Lviv, in western Ukraine, in the season-opening Ukrainian Supercup on Tuesday night.

Coach Mircea Lucescu revealed after the match it would become their temporary home.

"The team liked the city and the atmosphere here was great," Lucescu said.

Asked when the club would return to their Donbass Arena, he added: "We do not know yet."

The Arena Lviv was one of the eight venues used during Euro 2012 and has been the home of Ukrainian Premier League side FC Karpaty Lviv since December 2011.

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