Ihor SURKIS: “The war will end with our victory and no other way”

Ihor SURKIS: “The war will end with our victory and no other way”

On November 22, FC Dynamo Kyiv president Ihor Surkis turns 65. He’s done the interview for club media.

- What do you remember most about the years you spent with Dynamo in various positions?

- The major event was reaching the Champions League semifinals under the charge of Valeriy Lobanovskyi. Back then my brother was the president of the club. We must look up to that achievement. Maybe one day we’ll do it again.

How do I deal with failures? Every time the team loses or draws I get very intense and want to leave it all. But the following day I realize I must do my job and aim for better.

It’s hard these days as we can’t sign high-profile foreigners, who could perform for such team as Dynamo Kyiv.

We’re going through rough times and I understand fans aren’t happy about our performances.

- How is the club going through war?

- First of all, today we must help our soldiers, which we are doing. FC Dynamo Kyiv and the Surkis Brothers Foundation have already donated more than a billion UAH in various aid to our defenders. We will continue doing this until we win. We must expel the enemies from our land and live in free Ukraine.

It was very important to us to keep the young trainees of the club, considering that they went abroad with their parents. In the first days of war we didn’t know where they were. Huge help came from my brother, who managed to gather everyone and we did not lose our kids. Everyone is back which is very important for the club’s potential. Therefore, I can say that Dynamo have future, our academy is doing its job.

Today almost all our players, beside Ramadani, Benito, Diallo and several Ukrainians are Dynamo trainees. That’s very important. When the war is over and we need to get enforced, we certainly will. Now these guys are our hope. They should be responsible, not only when they talk about our warriors in interviews.

On the first day of war, everyone gathered in the basement of the training ground – children with mothers, players’ families. The President of Ukraine said he doesn’t need a ride, he needs weapons. These words hugely impressed everyone. We realized we would fight. There were difficult times, we gathered the team sometimes in Poland, then in Bucharest. We must express sincere gratitude to Mircea Lucescu, who didn’t leave the team. Even Dovbyk and Stepanenko used to come and work with us.

As for my support to the club, I will work as long as I have strength and help from my family: brother, wife, daughters. Also, my nephew plays here and it makes my heart beat faster. When he plays, my heart rate reaches 220 strikes (smiling). Slava works hard and deserves to play. He is in Ukraine, not abroad.

- What’s your vision of the development of Ukrainian football?

- First of all this war ends with our victory, and then we’ll keep developing football. What matters is that we didn’t lost it completely. I hope football in our country will be moving forward and at least gets back to the level it used to be on 5-8 years ago.

I hope president of every club knows what to do. We earn nothing from TV and advertising. Back in the day to reach the UEFA Cup final we had to beat Metalist Kharkiv. That was football! It doesn’t even matter who won. It matters that we were developing our football, there were fans at our stadiums. We haven’t seen our supporters for four years. But I understand that can change only after our victory.

- Basically these days Dynamo are not only a football club, but constant support to Ukrainian Armed Forces…

- I don’t want to constantly emphasize what we’ve done. My brother and I are doing everything we can. On the third or fourth day of the war we took all women and children and relatives of the players away from Kyiv, while the team went to Uzhhorod. Then we played charity matches, raised funds and transferred those to the UNITED24 platform, rebuilt a hospital in Chernihiv, as well as a kindergarten and outpatient clinic in Kyiv region. Aid to the military is a priority. Football and everything else is secondary.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said we must have football. He himself is fond of football, I know that. He played for different teams a number of times – for artists, veterans, even for Dynamo. Therefore, the existence of football is possible. The President is one of the people who made is possible. If he wasn’t interested in this game, he would put it off until later. But then it would have been impossible to rebuild our football.

Everyone united. We have only one enemy and everyone must hepl Ukraine help the way they can. Ex-Dynamo players Aliyev and Vashchuk are defending our country. Aliyev is a true man. Although he has Russian heritage he doesn’t even want to talk to his father. I’ve watched his interview twice.

- How are you going to celebrate your birthday?

- I won’t celebrate. I’ll just gather my family and we’ll raise one to our victory. The war will end with our victory and no other way.

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