Rinat Akhmetov: My club was, is and will always be Shakhtar

14-05-09 19:34:49

After a tour around Donbass Arena, Rinat Akhmetov and Viktor Yanukovych met media representatives.

ViktorYanukovych: I have always been fond of football and I used to play it in the days of my youth. I didn’t become a professional lpayer, but I have remained a football player deep inside. We didn’t see such stadiums even in our dreams. I said To Rinat Leonidovych: If only we knew, sitting on that waste bank and watching matches at the Shakhtyor stadium, that one day there will be such a beauty in Donetsk. I was stunned when I entered the venue. I remember my impression from my first visit to a European arena. Now that feeling is back.

Please, comment on UEFA’s decision regarding the cities that are going to host Euro-2012 matches?

First of all, I’d like to congratulate those cities that have won the right to host the event: Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv – and those people who are involved in the preparation for the competition. I wish Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa were on the list. We still have time, but we dare not waste it. We also must keep in mind that it isn’t the final decision. The infrastructure is to be improved, the roads. I don’t see any activity in the country. This is a chance to recover our economy, but, unfortunately, little has been done.   

RinatAkhmetov: The work must be done on professional level. We must raise Ukraine, make it shine and then we shall give our guests a warm welcome. I am sure we can make it.

Viktor Tyhonov (Ukrainian MP) said in an interview that you have been planning to buy FC Zorya (Luhansk).

R.A. This is nonsense. I am not going to comment on this rubbish. My club was, is and always will be FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

In a week your team will be playing in the UEFA Cup final

R.A. I think we are very lucky to have a Ukrainian team in the UEFA Cup final. We hope…

Could you predict the score?

R.A. Ask a bookmaker.

V.Y. I have always wished only victories to my favourite team. I think they deserve to win the trophy.

That final match in Istanbul will be the last UEFA Cup game. If Shakhtar win…

R.A. What we have won is the right to play in the final.

Will it be possible to keep the trophy in Donetsk?

R.A. Let’s discuss it after the match. It’s not a problem. What matters is to win the match.

They say that there’s a disagreement between you and Mr Yanukovych.

R.A. That’s not true. We have always have good, friendly relationships. No matter what they say. There is no disagreement between us.

Are you ready to finance his presidential campaign?

R.A. Financing is not a question. What matters is that we have no disagreements.

Are you ready to help other parties that are preparing for the EURO 2012?

R.A. I am ready to finish this arena in Donetsk. I am ready to hold an official opening ceremony on 29 August, when the country shall be marking the Coal Miners’ Day. I have already invited Mr Yanukovych to attend the ceremony. He is the one who has always been with the teams and has come with it through very difficult times. On 14 May 1994 he became the governor of the Donetsk oblast. So, it’s a special day today. On 25 May 1994 Shakhtar played a Cup match with FC Dnipro. If you remember, Pavlo Lazorenko was the prime minister at the time and Leonid Kuchma was the president. There were many officials at the match... Atelkin scored on 36th minute and the Donetsk delegation grasped their chests – they were afraid to make the government people worry. Yanukovych was the only person who jumped on his feet to celebrate – he was a vivid supporter of the team. He has always been with the team and I am grateful for this. .

What is still has to be done at the stadium to say that it is ready?

R.A. Mr Yanukovych was right when he said that back in the days of our youth we could hardly imagine that in Donetsk there would be a stadium like this one. What’s left to do? I think akll we need is a spectacular performance of the team.

FC Shakhtar
Press Office