Kaohsiung Steelers to host Ukraine national basketball team staff

03/31/2022 07:08 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers
Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) The Kaohsiung Steelers of Taiwan's P. LEAGUE+ professional basketball league are planning to bring in and host three staff members of the Ukrainian men's national basketball team, as well as a family member, after they reached out to the league for assistance from Europe, the club said Thursday.

The four Ukrainians -- the team's manager, a staff member of Ukraine's national basketball association, an athletic trainer, and a family member -- are currently in Latvia, where the national team had been staying, and the Steelers are searching for flights to help them come to Taiwan, the club said in a statement.

The four have received business visas that enable them to come to Taiwan for short-term business purposes but not to work.

The Steelers said that because of the invasion, members of the Ukrainian men's basketball team had been unable to return to their home country.

The Ukrainian men's national basketball team was competing in the FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers in Spain and played against the Spanish national team in the southern Spanish city of Córdoba on Feb. 24, the day when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. The team then traveled to Latvia, where the team's coach Ainars Bagatskis is from and had arranged for them to stay.

The four reached out to the P. LEAGUE+ for assistance in the second half of March, the Steelers said. The club did not provide the names of the four Ukrainians as they have not received consent from them to do so.

Upon learning of their request through the P. LEAGUE+, the Steelers have decided to bring the four persons to Taiwan with all their traveling expenses coming to Taiwan and living expenses in Taiwan to be covered, the club said.

Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers
Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Steelers

Meanwhile, the club has already rented an apartment for their arrival, which will be ready for the Ukrainians to move into once they have arrived in Taiwan and completed their mandatory quarantine requirements, the club said.

When asked how much it would cost to fly and house the four Ukrainians, the Steelers did not reveal the amount. The club will house them for the duration of their Taiwan business visas.

The club said they hoped this would create a win-win situation for both sides by facilitating professional exchanges between both parties on sports club management and training.

The Ukrainian men's national basketball team is currently ranked 32 in the FIBA world rankings. The Steelers are one of two expansions teams to join the P. LEAGUE+ this season and are currently last in the six-team league table after only winning five out of 20 games played so far.

In addition to the Steelers offer of help, Taiwan's basketball association also sent a letter to the Basketball Federation of Ukraine (FBU) to express its support for Ukraine and offer financial help, according to the FBU in a news report on February 28.

(By William Yen)

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