Future of Metalist Kharkiv Remains in Doubt

Future of Metalist Kharkiv Remains in Doubt

Financial turmoil continues in the Ukrainian Premier League. The bankruptcy of several clubs in the league, as well as the financial problems of several other teams has already meant that the Football Federation of Ukraine has been forced to reduce the league to 12 teams for the 2016-17 season.

In the new format, which was announced on February 29, the league will take place over two rounds. In the first round, the clubs will all play each other both home and away, and in the second round they will be split into two groups of six. The top six will fight for the title and the European spots, while the bottom six will try to avoid relegation.

Since the announcement, however, Volyn Lutsk, were deducted a total of 18 points by FIFA, and the FFU, for unpaid wages, and the club has since announced that they would withdraw from the league, and restart play in the Druha Liga (second division) as Torpedo Lutsk.

The FFU also announced on April 5 that Hoverla Uzhhorod does not meet the financial requirements to obtain a licence for the 2016-17 Ukrainian Premier League, and as a result Hoverla might be barred from playing in the Ukrainian Premier League.

Another club that has struggled with debts is Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. The 2014-15 Europa League finalist has been banned by UEFA from international competitions for failing pay wages to the staff of former coach Juande Ramos. To make matters worse Dnipro’s owner Ihor Kolomoyskyi has withdrawn more and more from the club, and the financial problems of the team now even threaten Dnipro’s continued existence.

Unfortunately Dnipro are not the last club on the list of those under financial threat—financial problems also continue at Ukraine’s fourth biggest club Metalist Kharkiv. On April 6 Tribuna reported that Metalist is also in danger of not receiving a licence for the 2016-17 UPL season.

The former vice-president of the FFU Serhiy Storozhenko told Tribuna “I can’t be too precise on Metalist’s debts, but the reported number of $30 to $35 million is a fairy tale. The exact numbers are a commercial secret, hence I can’t tell you the actual numbers.”

At the same time Storozhenko admitted “Let me just say that the debt that the club still owes for the transfer of [former midfielder] Cleiton Xavier amounts to about $5 million.” Storozhenko believes that Metalist needs to show “determination to the licensors to repay its debts.”

In the past there was hope that Metalist could be saved by former owner Oleksandr Yaroslavsky. The oligarch, so far, has been reluctant to buy back his former club which leaves the future of Metalist in doubt.

By Manuel Veth –