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Ukraine's Shevchenko gives up soccer for politics

posted 28 Jul 2012, 09:51 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 28 Jul 2012, 09:52 ]

Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko announces he will quit soccer to devote his time to politics.

VOLODARKA, UKRAINE (JULY 28, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ICTV) - Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko on Saturday (July 28) told journalists that he had quit soccer to begin a career in politics by joining a new political party which does not align itself with the government or its traditional opponents.

Shevchenko spoke to journalists during a visit to a school on Saturday where he met with students, toured the school and played ping-pong with some of the children.

The 35-year-old soccer player joined "Ukraine - Forward!", a party that this year broke off from the main opposition coalition, just months before the October parliamentary election.

"I made a decision to join the 'Ukraine - Forward!' party with Natasha (Korolevska) and I'm starting my political career," Shevchenko said, adding, "(I joined 'Ukraine Forward!') because it's the party of the future, it's a party of young leaders and for Ukraine it will be a definite choice between the past and the future and I've made this choice for myself, and I believe in this party."

"Ukraine - Forward!", previously known as the Social-Democratic party, is led by parliament deputy Natalya Korolevska, and has long been a member of the opposition faction BYuT led by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison last October on abuse-of-office charges in a case widely seen in the West as politically-motivated.

In March, Korolevska fell out with BYuT leaders who took over in Tymoshenko's absence and expelled her party from the bloc, accusing of secretly co-operating with the government.

"Ukraine - Forward!" is now campaigning independently.

Shevchenko, former AC Milan and Chelsea forward ended his international career when Ukraine failed to progress from the group stage at June's Euro 2012, which they co-hosted with Poland.

Shevchenko started his career in Dynamo and then moved to Milan, becoming one of the most famous Ukrainian players. His following stint with Chelsea was less successful and since 2009 Shevchenko has been playing for Dynamo again.