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Ukraine court freezes assets of Europa League club Metalist Kharkiv because of owner

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KIEV, Ukraine - A Ukrainian court has frozen the assets of Europa League club Metalist Kharkiv over a business dispute involving its owner, it has emerged.

The club's shares, stadium, and training base in the eastern city of Kharkiv are all covered by the ruling from the economic court in the capital Kyiv.

The ruling, posted online, is dated July 15, but was not reported by Ukrainian media until Thursday.

Metalist's owner, 27-year-old gas billionaire Sergei Kurchenko, was widely seen as close to former President Viktor Yanukovych and left Ukraine in February, around the time Yanukovych fled the country amid violent protests.

Kurchenko was placed on a European Union sanctions list in March.

Metalist finished third in the Ukrainian Premier League last season and will start its Europa League campaign next week away to Poland's Ruch Chorzow in the playoff round.

The return leg will be in Kyiv, one of two Ukrainian cities allowed by UEFA to host European games as conflict rages in the east of the country.

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