The world of football has taken a stand against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Saturday several football matches displayed anti-war messages and gestures before kickoff.
The Premier League fixture between Manchester City and Everton was the highlight of the calls for peace as both teams’ Ukrainian players Oleksander Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko were visibly emotional during the moments of silence.
Everton players walked out onto the field wearing Ukraine flags around their shoulders while City players wore a shirt with the same flag and a “No War” message.
The Ukrainian pair embraced during the team’s warmup, to the roar of the crowd who displayed a banner with the message “We Stand with Ukraine”.
Pep Guardiola applauded the support the Goodison Park crowd showed during an emotional time.
“Thank you so much to all the people at Goodison Park. It was so emotional. It is not a nice time for Zinchenko and the Ukrainian people at the moment. The people from Goodison Park were amazing,” he said.
The game between Manchester United and Watford had the two teams come together, standing behind a banner that declared “Peace” in several different languages which was held by United manager Ralf Ragnick.
The Wembley Stadium’s famous arch was lit up in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukraine flag a day before it will contest the Carabao Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
Aston Villa fullback Matty Cash who recently switched allegiance to Poland, took off his shirt after scoring against Brighton & Hove Albion, revealing a message in support of Polish teammate Tomasz Kedziora.
Kedziora plays for Ukrainian giant Dynamo Kyiv, living in the capital of the country which is under attack.
Meanwhile, both Poland and Sweden have refused to play any fixtures against Russia. Poland was due to face Russia next month in a Fifa World Cup qualifier. If Russia progress they will play Sweden.
However, the decision to not play the fixture leaves the qualification for this year’s World Cup up in the air.
Fifa have not yet responded to the decision made by both Poland and Sweden.
Image source: @SportsMax