Shevchenko defends decision to enter Ukraine politics

The former Dynamo Kiev striker insists his popularity among many football fans will help his countrymen, and denies allegations of taking money or funding as election day looms

Former Chelsea and AC Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko has defended himself against accusations surrounding his political candidacy in Ukraine.

The 35-year-old retired from international and club football after Euro 2012 and had already revealed his intention to enter into politics.

However, some people have criticized his candidacy as a ploy to steal votes from former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for the ‘Ukraine - Go Forward!’ party that Shevchenko represents, but the former forward has refuted claims he received money from third parties to fund the 1 million euros he paid towards the election campaign.

"As a player, I think I've done a lot for my country," Shevchenko explained to Italian news outlet La Repubblica.

He added, "Now I have made the decision to enter politics because I want to do good in Ukraine. I absolutely did not take money or funding.

Shevchenko told the publication that he wouldn't risk his trusted reputation to pocket extra money.

"In the course of my career, I have gained the trust of a large part of my people, and for me this is the most precious thing. I could never want to lose it making up certain things," he explained. 

"I have already traveled half the country campaigning and many people have told me they support my idea of being in politics."

Shevchenko hopes that his appeal as a former athlete will be attractive to younger Ukrainians.

"If I go into parliament I will dedicate myself to promoting the sport among the young generations of Ukrainians. They do not have to be famous champions, just healthy people."


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