Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk began their Football for Peace Tour with a game played in front of 5,000 fans against Greek side Olympiakos.
The charity tour is raising funds to provide aid for people in Ukraine affected by the Russian invasion.
The first game took place at Olympiakos’ Karaiskakis Stadium, with the home side winning 1-0.
“We use football as a tool for peace,” said Olympiakos sporting director Christian Karembeu.
“And We are proud to host this event to raise awareness of the war,” added the former French international.
“We want to talk about war and peace in Ukraine in these matches. The need to end this madness and return to normal life and to rebuild the country,” said Shakhtar general manager Sergei Palkin.
Players wore shirts bearing the names of Ukrainian cities that have seen fighting in the war.
However, the match was boycotted by an Olympiakos supporters’ group called ‘Gate 7’ who said their “ties with other teams do not allow us to be in favour of one side or the other”.
Shakhtar Donetsk one of the most decorated teams in Ukrainian football, had not played since the start of the invasion in February.
Their tour will continue in Gdansk, Poland, against Lehya on 14 April; in Istanbul against Fenerbahce on 19 April; and end in Croatia against Hajduk Split on 1 May.
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