Crisis in Harkiv: Coach Markevich resigned after admitting club's financial problems
By Slaven Maticic
A couple of months ago the situation in Metalist was almost idyllic. They were sitting on top of the table and it seemed like all those years of hard work finally started to pay off.
Now, only a couple of months later, the words coming out of their (ex) coach Myron Markevich's mouth suggest that Metalist is facing some serious problems at the moment. One of those problems is Markevich's resignation which was announced yesterday, so unexpectedly at first glance, but things may not always be as simple as they seem.
The day before Markevich gave an interview revealing the situation behind the curtains, something that certainly wasn't pleasant for the chairman board's ears. First, he admitted that he and his staff, including players, received their last paycheck three months ago and then stated that Metalist might even cease to exist as a club, which suggests serious financial difficulties Metalist has to deal with.
Yesterday, he was supposed to meet with club's management and hold a training session with his first team, but all that resulted in his resignation which was accepted almost immediately and confirmed on the official website of Metalist Harkiv. After his resignation yesterday, Markevich added that the club is, "falling apart right before my eyes and I don’t want to bear witness to this".
Markevich was at helm for nine years, taking Metalist to runner-up position in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, building a strong competition for Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv. His former assistant Igor Rakhaev will be taking Markevich's position as the head coach.
If we go deeper into this matter, the fact that Metalist was banned from Europe in August 2013 after suspicion of match-fixing certainly made an impact on club's financial image. Not only have they lost their reputation, but also the probable millions in revenue they had the chance to get from the UEFA. And that chance was quite good if we remember that they've managed to reach knockout stage of the Europa League in the past three seasons, ending up as quarter-finalists in the 2011/2012 season.
The sad fact is that Metalist is not the first of Ukrainian top division club to face these financial problems. In 2006, Kryvbas Kriviy Rih was expelled from the Premier division due to bankruptcy. Obolon withdrew from Ukrainian First League (2nd division) in February 2013 after getting relegated from the elite Ukrainian competition and most recent example is Arsenal Kyiv who declared bankruptcy just a few months ago and also had to withdraw from Premier League.
And with huge riots and the possibility of civil war in Ukraine, which is certainly not a positive factor for the economic stability of Ukrainian football, the big question is - who may be next?