Brazilian club becomes Mariupol, supporting Ukrainians in the war with Russia

Elena PavlovaSport
The state of Paraná supported Mariupol residents

Brazilian third division football club Batel from the state of Paraná has changed its name to FC Mariupol. The team will also play in the colours, uniform and emblem of the Azov team, which the Russian occupiers tried to destroy.

This action, according to Batel's management, is a tribute to the Mariupol club, which lost its home stadium, base and suspended participation in tournaments after the full-scale invasion of Russia, constant bombardment and occupation of the city by enemy troops.


In fact, it is not surprising that the team from Paraná took this step. After all, the club's headquarters are located in Guarapuava, in the Prudentopolis region, which is known for the largest Ukrainian community in Latin America. According to Globo, about 75% of the 52,000 local residents have Ukrainian roots.


The Brazilian club's campaign is expected to last for six matches - three official and three friendly matches. However, it has been suggested that the team will remain Mariupol until the Donetsk club is able to return home and resume playing.


"There is a great identification and commitment to the Ukrainian people at our club and in our region. The idea is to help preserve FC Mariupol, which has been the pride and great passion of the city, until they can really get back to business," said Batel president Alex Lopez.


"Our message to the world is peace and support for the fight for Ukraine's sovereignty. Football was a cause for great joy there, and surely in the future the club will shine again in the place it deserves," added the Brazilian club president.


"We are very touched and grateful to Batel for such a welcome. The war has devastated our city. Our schools, theatres and sports teams were destroyed or displaced. But the fact that this team in the land of football, on the other side of the world, has agreed to keep our name alive in this dark period of our history, simply leaves us speechless. It's impossible to express how much this means to us," said Andriy Sanin, Vice President of Ukrainian football club Mariupol.


Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported that mother had been waiting for 11 months for a Ukrainian athlete who defended Mariupol to be released from Russian captivity.

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