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Manchester United fans’ guide to Shakhtar Donetsk

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance, we thought we’d provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.

Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters. 

In the meantime, while the below might not necessarily have all the information you’ll be after if you’re heading out to Ukraine this week, we’re always available to help – just drop us an email if you have any questions.

We’ll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.

As with all of our guides, if there is anything missing from the following pages that you need to know then feel free to drop us an email and we’ll do our best to find it out for you.

Full Ukraine Guide Book

Given that we went to all the trouble of producing a guide to Poland and Ukraine for the recent European Championships, it would be remiss of us not to link to it here. Some of the information will be specific to the Euro games, but a lot of the general information on travel, currency, information about the city will be of assistance to those heading out to Donetsk.

Check out the Free Lions Guide to Poland and Ukraine here…

United fans should also check out the FCO’s Guidance on this fixture.

The Club

Formed in 1936, Donetsk are now one of the premier sides in the Ukraine, and its current champions. Knocked out of the Group C of Champions League in 3rd place behind Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon they went on to win the UEFA Cup in the 2008-09 season.

The team has played under the following names: Stakhanovets (1936-1946), Shakhtyor (1946-1992) and FC Shakhtar (since 1992). Shakhtar are one of 5 sides to have competed in every Premier Liha season since the end of the Soviet Vysshaya Liga in 1991.

The Stadium

Shakhtar moved out of their temporary home at the RSK Olimpyskiy Stadium into the newly constructed Donbass Arena in 2009. The ground was built as part of the preparations for the 2012 European Championships, and hosted group matches, a quarter final match and one of the semi-finals in the 2012 Championships.

The stadium has a capacity of 50,000, and is the first in Eastern Europe to conform to UEFA’s Elite standard. Their former home, the Shakhtar Stadium (in the south-east of the city), is now occupied by Shakhtar’s city rivals FC Metalurh Donetsk.

The Donbass Arena is in the north of the city centre, adjacent to the club’s former temporary home at the RSK Olimpiyskiy Stadium in the Lenin Comsomol park.

About the City

The main sight in Donetsk is the Cathedral, or Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus to give it is full title. Originally built in the late 1800s it was destroyed by the Soviets during the 1930s, and rebuilt from scratch, with construction only finishing a few years ago.

According to the University of Donetsk web page, there are, among other things, 3 theatres, 20 cinemas, a regional museum of fine arts, 140 museums and museum rooms and a planetarium in the city.

Getting Around

The city has 12 tram lines and 17 trolley bus lines, as well as numerous bus services. The trams and trolley buses, though, are rather slow and cumbersome. The metro system in the city is currently under construction, but the first stage opened last year.

Taxis are available to be hailed in the street in Donetsk, but it is advisable that you arrange the fare in advance. Haggling can be useful here, as often taxi drivers will inflate the prices quoted for westerners, so it’s best to ask for a price beforehand rather than negotiate at the destination especially if you are travelling any real distance.

If you’re just hopping around the city centre, however, taxis work out pretty cheaply, and it should cost no more than a couple of pounds.

The official speed limit in the Ukraine is 60 km/h in the cities, 90 km/h on secondary roads and 130 km/h on the highways. Be warned there is a zero tolerance drink driving policy applied in Ukraine.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball
  • SD Europe