14:42 12.11.2018

Football Pitches of Ukraine are the unlikely new battleground

3 min read

The Head of Football in Ukraine has accused rivals of trying to destabilise his position as political factions battle for influence in the war torn country.

In a new documentary being released this week, Andriy Pavelko has spoken for the first time since corruption allegations surfaced overseas.  Pavelko was accused of misusing UEFA funds, and personally benefiting from a new factory built by Ukraine’s Football Federation. The plant makes artificial football pitches for the eastern European country, where the ground is typically frozen for 3 months of the year.

But “Muddy Waters”, a new British documentary being premiered in London this week reveals doubts about the authenticity of the original allegations, in the run-up to elections when Pavelko and his predecessor, Hryhoriy Surkis hope to secure a place on UEFA’s Executive Committee.

Mr Pavelko told Muddy Waters “I know who the person is”, as he opened up the FFU’s offices and produced documents to counter the allegations. “If someone was interested in getting material benefits there’s no need to come up with something so complicated” added Pavelko, who revealed since taking office in 2015 he has hired KPMG and Ernst & Young to audit the Federation’s accounts, the first time western accountants have been allowed access to the FFU’s books.

Pavelko preferred to accentuate the positives of his reign, & the factory, which has already seen hundreds of artificial pitches made, and installed, across Ukraine.

Documentary presenter Oliver Regan and his team also hear from Ukrainian journalists who have uncovered links between a prominent pro-Russian businessman and politician, a TV channel he’s believed to control which broadcast the original claims of a Swiss journalist and the oligarch’s private jet visiting Switzerland just before the author of the allegations appeared on the Ukrainian TV station.

The World Premiere of “Muddy Waters” in London this week, comes just days before the 5th anniverary of the start of the “EuroMaidan” protests in Ukraine which led to a change in Government and saw Russia annex Crimea and wage war in the occupied territories of east Ukraine.

Advisory to Media: Admittance to the Official Launch must be pre-registered.

Please email muddywaters.ukraine@gmail.com to reserve your space, register interview requests and for all other enquiries

Presenter Oliver Regan will be available for interviews following the screening.

Light refreshments will also be served.

When: 2pm, Wednesday 14 November 2018

Where: St Alban’s Centre, Baldwin’s Gardens, Holborn, London EC1N 7AB