'Death Match' Football Film Faces Problems in Ukraine

A film depicting the legendary 1942 "Death Match" between Kiev footballers and the Nazi occupiers will unlikely be released before the Euro 2012 championships, taking place party in Kiev. The film, entitled "The Match", was meant to be released at the start of May, but has been blocked from release until further notice by Ukrainian authorities. Officials have expressed their concern at igniting "explosive emotions" weeks before the European championship.

The film itself tells the story of the match, cultivated into a legend by Soviet authorities, that saw Ukrainian players beat the Germans 5-3, despite apparent warnings of the consequences. The legend tells that the players from the Ukrainian side paid for the win with their lives. Although there is no hard proof to support this belief, many of the players were arrested by authorities and some died months later in concentration camps.

For now, "The Match" will remain behind closed doors, avoiding what some critics have called - a risk of stoking "ethnic strife" and "anti-German feelings".


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