Spooky football stadium in Ukraine overcome by nature after Chernobyl disaster

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    An abandoned stadium is undoubtedly one of the strangest and most eerie sights in football.

    Add the devastating context of a tragic historical incident like the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and you've got yourself one heck of a spine-shivering sight.

    That’s exactly what photographs of Avanhard Stadium in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat depict after the area was abandoned on April 26, 1986, following the power plant’s horrific meltdown.

    As such, the former ground of Stroitel Pripyat FC, which is located within the city’s radiation zone, is a harrowing spectacle for any football fan almost 40 years after it was left to be reclaimed by nature.

    READ MORE: Ukraine's destroyed football stadiums now – bomb craters, flooded, stands blown up

    Pripyat was founded in 1970 purely to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. By 1986, the Soviet city had grown to around 50,000 people and the population eventually found a need to create a football club to cheer on.

    The stadium itself was built in 1979, where the black and green jersey-wearing side played their home matches. But after a steam explosion caused a fire during a late-night safety test, the power plant was destroyed as toxic nuclear smoke engulfed the city for nine days.

    Have you ever been to an abandoned football stadium? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

    The result was thousands of deaths and the ground being long forgotten until daring explorers braved the radiation in the desolate Chernobyl exclusion zone to take snaps of the stadium.

    They show crumbling stands, where the once-bustling concrete terraces have been reclaimed by branches, shrubs and moss.

    The pitch itself is now completely unrecognisable from the day of the disaster, when Stroitel were preparing for a cup semi-final against FC Borodyanka.

    Lush green grass and the white lines of a football field are no longer visible. Instead, the area formerly used as a pitch is now a forest-like area with trees spurting out.

    England take on Ukraine on Saturday as they look to maintain their 100% record in their Euro 2024 qualifying group. Having beaten Mykhailo Mudryk and Co 2-0 at Wembley back in March, the Three Lions have flown out for the away fixture, but due to the current conflict in Ukraine the match is being held at the Tarczynski Arena in Poland.

    The war between Russia and Ukraine has been raging since February 2022 when Russian forces invaded large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. Hundreds of the thousands have been killed in the ensuing mayhem, with hundreds of thousands more seriously wounded.

    Russia still occupies large areas of the Donbas region, but the Ukrainians continue to make small gains as they attempt to banish the invaders from their homeland.

    • Chernobyl
    • England Football Team
    • Ukraine

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