Union of European Football Association (UDFA)
Nyon, Switzerland, May 12, 2003
The family of Valeriy Lobanovskiy have received the Union of European
Football Association's (UEFA) Ruby Order of Merit on the legendary coach's
behalf at a ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, the UEFA reported on Europe's
Football Website, www.uefa.com, from Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday, May
The statue of Valeriy Lobanovskiy in Kyiv
(Click on image to enlarge it)
The former FC Dynamo Kyiv and Ukraine coach, who died of a brain haemorrhage
on 13 May last year after collapsing during Dynamo's Ukrainian league game
at FC Metalurh Zaporizhya, was given the honour at the UEFA Congress in
Stockholm a month earlier but was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
Now, as Ukraine commemorates the first anniversary of his death, Gerhard
Mayer-Vorfelder has handed Lobanovskiy's family the Ruby Order of Merit on
behalf of UEFA President Lennart Johannson.
Roll of honour
One of the greatest coaches of his generation, the UEFA award saw
Lobanovskiy join Rinus Michels, Ken Ridden, Alexander Chivadze, Maurica
Burlaz, Johannes Malka and Joseph Dagan on the Ruby Order of Merit roll of
honour. The 2001/02 UEFA Champions League final began with a minute's
silence for the coach, and 200,000 Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv to attend his
Tonight's ceremony was just one of several memorial events this week
[in Kyiv]. Lobanovskiy's club and the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU)
have organised a football tournament in Kyiv to commemorate the anniversary
of his death, featuring Dynamo, FC Shakhtar Donetsk, PFC CSKA Moskva
and FC Lokomotiv Moskva. FC Shakhtar Donetsk won through to the final
today by beating CSKA 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the Lobanovskiy
There is also now a statue of Lobanovskiy outside the stadium which bears
his name - it was previously the Dynamo stadium. Unveiled on Sunday in a
service attended by many senior figures from Ukrainian football and
politics, the statue depicts the coach in the 1980s, with his wristwatch
showing the time of his death - 20.35 Kyiv time.
'We will never forget'
"This sculpture is just a part of what we are doing to remember this great
man," said Dynamo president Ihor Surkis. "Lobanovskiy is one of the symbols
of the country and we will never forget what he has done for world and
'Hero of Ukraine'
"Lobanovskiy has done a lot for every Ukrainian," added Ukraine's first
president, Leonid Kravchuk. "He deserves to be respected for his work. He
was a truly happy man - his beloved job brought happiness not only to him,
but to millions of other people. He fully deserves the award which he
received after his death - the Hero of Ukraine."
Born on 6 January 1939 in Kyiv, Lobanovskiy played 258 games for Dynamo,
scoring 71 goals. He won the Soviet title as a player in 1961 and the Soviet
Cup in 1964 and made two appearances for the Soviet Union as well as
captaining the Under-23 side which competed in the Olympic games.
As a coach, he started with FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, before joining Dynamo
in 1973. Under Lobanovskiy, Dynamo won eight Soviet title and six Soviet
Cups, as well as the 1975 and 1986 UEFA Cup Winners' Cups and the 1975
UEFA Super Cup. His success continued in the independent Ukraine as his
Dynamo side won five Ukrainian titles and three Ukrainian Cups. He also
coached the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Ukraine national teams.
As AC Milan geared up for their UEFA Champions League semi-final decider
against Internazionale FC, Milan's Ukrainian international Andriy Shevchenko
paid his personal tribute to his old mentor. "Lobanovskiy was like a father
to me," he said. "I would like to score a goal and dedicate it to him. It
would be fantastic for Milan and me if it helped us to reach the Champions
Union of European Football Association, Switzerland, May 12, 2003
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