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Shakhtar warn players

Kiev: The owner of Shakhtar Donetsk has assured the safety of six players who refused to return to the Ukraine as conflict rages around the club’s home city but warned they would be in breach of their contracts should they opt to stay away.

Shakhtar president Rynat Akhmetov confirmed that Brazilians Alex Teixeira, Fred, Dentinho, Douglas Costa and Ismaily, and Argentine striker Facundo Ferreira refused to travel from France to Ukraine following a friendly against Lyon on Saturday.

The players’ action came two days after 298 people aboard a Malaysian Airlines flight died when their plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Danish Football Association (DBU) has backed FC Copenhagen’s bid to shift their Champions League qualifier at Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk later this month to a neutral venue, following the shooting-down of a Malaysia Airlines flight over the Ukraine. (Agencies)