Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk will allocate $25 million to aid soldiers and their families, president Rinat Akhmetov said on Monday, a day after receiving a record transfer fee for winger Mykhailo Mudryk from Premier League club Chelsea.
Akhmetov added that Shakhtar would play a friendly against Chelsea at their Donbass Arena in “a Ukrainian Donetsk”.
Following the transfer of Mudryk to Chelsea on Sunday, Shakhtar said they “will receive 70 million euros ($76 million) for the player and another 30 million euros is envisaged as a bonus payment.”
The club said it was a transfer record for Shakhtar and Ukrainian football.
Akhmetov said the money would be allocated as part of a project titled ‘Heart of Azovstal,’ aimed at “helping Mariupol defenders and the families of fallen soldiers”.
Ukrainian forces defending Mariupol were holed up in the Azovstal steelworks for weeks as Russian forces tried to capture the city. The Ukrainian soldiers eventually surrendered in May last year.
“I am allocating $25 million today to help our soldiers, defenders, and their families,” Akhmetov said in a statement on the club’s website.
“The money will be used to cover different needs – from providing medical and prosthetic treatment and psychological support to meeting specific requests.
“To ensure transparency, the project will have a professional independent team that will be in touch with the Azovstal defenders, their families, care providers, and volunteers.”
Chelsea were formerly owned by Russian Roman Abramovich, who put the club up for sale following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before it was acquired by a group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.