Andrii Kravchuk (L) had been at a training camp in Turkey with Torpedo Moscow when the war broke out. Twitter photo
Ukraine under-21 international Andrii Kravchuk will train with Premier League champions Manchester City after travelling to Britain as a refugee.
Kravchuk terminated his contract with Russian side Torpedo Moscow and fled to Manchester following Russia’s invasion of his homeland.
City have received permission from the Home Office and football authorities for Kravchuk to work with their under-23s squad for the remainder of the season.
FIFA have allowed foreign players in Russia and Ukraine to temporarily suspend their contracts to move elsewhere.
However, the Premier League has not allowed any such players to be registered for first-team action until the end of the season.
The arrangement was set up by City’s Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, a childhood friend of Kravchuk since both were in the Shakhtar Donetsk academy.
Kravchuk linked up with City for the first time on Thursday. “I am so grateful to Manchester City for giving me this chance to train with them,” said the 23-year-old.
“The past few weeks and months have been so difficult, but to be back on the pitch means so much to me.”
Kravchuk had been at a training camp in Turkey with Torpedo Moscow when the war broke out.
“There were nice people around me at the club but I was playing in a country that invaded my homeland,” he added. “Leaving the club was the only decision. People in Ukraine would not understand me if I continued to play there.”
Zinchenko has continued to play despite the distress of the war back home and has been boosted by shows of support from both City and opposition fans.
“While I wish the circumstances were very different, it has been good to be back with Andrii today,” said Zinchenko.
“I know how much football means to him, and how it can help us during these difficult times. I would like to thank my club for giving him the opportunity to train with us.”