Going to Kyiv for the football and watching Obolon play while Dynamo are just down the road might sound a bit like holidaying in Italy and then dining out at Pizza Hut, but that’s not to say you won’t have fun watching the Pyvovary.
A completely different Premier League experience awaits at the end of the Kurenivsko-Chervonoarmiyska line. Located in the northern area of the same name, the Obolon Arena is a tight, compact stadium with floodlight pylons in a residential area of Kyiv is reminiscent of a lower league ground in England, and it isn't unusual to see their neighbours in the adjacent apartment blocks taking in a match from their windows.
Oh, and sometimes there’s free (non-alcoholic) beer. As their nickname suggests (Pyvovary is English for “the Brewers”), the club are backed by a brewery – Obolon, Ukraine’s largest exporter of beer, whose president, Oleksandr Slobodyan, just so happens to be Ukraine’s 29th richest man according to the Kyiv Post’s 2010 list, with a cool $437 million in the bank.
It’s on a tight budget that Obolon have risen up the Ukrainian football pyramid though since their inception in 1992 out of the Zmina football school, and although they lack the trophies and big names that have foreign football fans naturally gravitating towards Dynamo, but tickets are cheap and it’s an enjoyable afternoon out nevertheless.
Built in 2002, the Obolon Arena (metro Heroiv Dnipra) is a small stadium with two stands and a capacity of just 5,100. There are, however, plans to increase this and the ground will be used as a training base during Euro 2012. Tickets for Obolon’s games can be purchased at the stadium (look for the booth “каса стадіону”).
Club address vul Pivnichna 26, Kyiv 04214
Telephone +38 044 411-39-10
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Guide by Mark Gilbey, who writes FourFourTwo's Never Mind The Bolsheviks
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