Players from Ukraine are training with Borussia Dortmund. - © imago
Players from Ukraine are training with Borussia Dortmund. - © imago

Refugees from war-torn Ukraine training with Borussia Dortmund


Borussia Dortmund have opened their doors to three Ukraine-based footballers, inviting the refugees to train with the club's U23s until the end of the season.

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, world football governing body FIFA ruled that the contracts of foreign players would be suspended until the end of the 2021/22 season, effectively giving them free agent status so they can train with other clubs.

On Monday, Raymond Frimpong Owusu and Alan Aussi - on the respective books of Zorya Lugansk and the Dynamo Kyiv reserves until a few weeks ago - took part in training at Dortmund for the first time. A third unnamed player was also involved.

"The bombs and rockets fell - I could hear them. The war was getting closer and closer, and I got scared. Then I decided to flee," Owusu told Ruhr Nachrichten of his journey from Ukraine, via Poland, to Dortmund.

"And now I'm training here at Borussia Dortmund, and took a photo with Erling Haaland after training. That's crazy!"

Erling Haaland and his BVB teammates have got right behind campaigns such as #StandWithUkraine and #StopWar. - imago

Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs have been sending clear messages of peace and solidarity since the start of the war, with one-off shirts, blue-and-yellow captain's armbands and banners, pre-match moments of reflection and other actions.

Engagement has also been expanded in the form of targeted donation campaigns from several players, while the DFL has already made €1 million available for humanitarian support.

Watch: Bundesliga players past and present call for support for people of Ukraine

"The people of Ukraine are of concern to all of us and need our help," said Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. "BVB and I offer our support."

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