A movie telling the story of an
amateur football "death match" 70 years ago between Nazi
soldiers and Ukrainians in occupied Kiev has puzzled Ukrainian
regulators who need to decide whether it can be released ahead
of the European Championships.
Ukraine's State Cinema Agency was due to make a ruling on Match, a joint Russian and Ukrainian production, by April 6.
But it has delayed a decision until May 1, distributor Inter
"The situation is unclear," Inter Film spokeswoman Yulia
Yatsenko said. "[The movie] is in limbo."
The State Cinema Agency could not be reached for comments.
The match depicted in the film was played between a team
mostly made up of Dynamo Kiev players and a German Luftwaffe (Air Force) team on August 9, 1942. The Ukrainian team won 5-3.
Hitler's Nazi forces had attacked the Soviet Union a year
earlier in June 1941 and had been in control of Kiev, the
capital of Soviet Ukraine, since September of that year.
The match became known as the "death match" because,
according to Soviet media reports which inspired a book and
several movies, the Ukrainian team defied a Nazi ultimatum to
lose or die. These reports said Ukrainian players were arrested
after the match and some of them executed.
Post-Soviet reports, however, indicated there had been no
immediate arrests and only four players were later killed by the
Nazis for reasons other than the match victory.
Yatsenko said the movie would be screened as soon as the
state cultural authorities gave their permission.
Ukrainian media are linking the authorities' apparent
hesitancy to national sensitivities ahead of Euro 2012, which Ukraine will host together with Poland
The German national team will take part in the championships.
According to Ukrainian media reports, the movie could also
upset local audiences because it depicts several Ukrainian Nazi
But Yatsenko said the movie was not aimed at dividing people
and had been well received by some Dynamo Kiev players who had
attended a private screening.
"I think it is relevant on the eve of the championships as
Dynamo players make up the core of Ukraine's national team," she
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