Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has emerged as a competitive football nation in its own right. However, even before the dismantling of the old USSR at the start of the 1990s, Ukrainian football had produced outstanding players, performances and administrators. In this context, and in the wake of a successful UEFA EURO 2012 which Ukraine co-hosted with Poland, the country and its football enthusiasts can view the future with hope and confidence.
The Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) was set up as a self-sufficient legal entity on 6 March 1991. Until then, Ukraine had been part of the USSR Football Federation with its clubs contesting the Soviet championship; they only withdrew after the nation gained independence in December 1991. The first FFU leaders were president Viktor Bannikov and general secretary Anatoliy Bidenko, both of whom were influential figures in Ukraine's integration into UEFA and FIFA in the summer of 1992.
Between February and June that same year, the FFU ran its first league championship for non-amateur teams and staged the inaugural edition of the Ukrainian Cup. The honour of becoming Ukraine's first domestic champions went to SC Tavriya Simferopol from the Crimea, while FC Chornomorets Odesa claimed the cup in 1992.
Ukraine's footballing talent has increasingly left its mark on the international scene. The country boasts three Ballon d'Or winners in Oleh Blokhin, Igor Belanov and Andriy Shevchenko – European Footballers of the Year in 1975, 1986 and 2004 respectively. FC Dynamo Kyiv twice lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup, in 1975 and 1986, the UEFA Super Cup in 1975 and have reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals on several occasions.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk, another force in the domestic game, were winners of the last-ever UEFA Cup in 2009. Other teams to have featured prominently in European competition include FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Chornomorets, FC CSKA Kyiv, Tavriya, FC Vorskla Poltava, FC Karpaty Lviv, FC Metalist Kharkiv, FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih, FC Nyva Vinnytsa and FC Metalurh Zaporizhya.
Ukraine's national side made their debut in the finals of a major championship when they got to the last eight at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The team also came close to qualifying for four other final tournaments only to be denied in a play-off, before participating in the 2012 UEFA European Championship on home soil.
The FFU can also report progress at grassroots level. The federation has a schools football development agreement with Ukraine's ministry for education and science, which was signed in 2001 with the aim of introducing football classes into secondary schools. The fact Ukraine finished second at the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, and then won the U19 Championship as hosts in 2009, suggests this collaboration is paying dividends.
Ukraine has also recorded success in other versions of the game. The national futsal side were runners-up to Spain at the UEFA European Futsal Championship of 2001 and to Italy in 2003, results which reflect the country's enthusiasm for the indoor version of the sport. In addition, the Ukrainian team took silver at the World Student Games in China in 2001, then gold in Spain in 2004.
Date of birth: 19 September 1949
Association president since: 2012
• An FC Avangard Kramatorsk academy product who started his professional career at FC Shakhtar Donetsk in 1968, Konkov moved to FC Dynamo Kyiv six years later and helped the club win the European Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1975. He also won four Soviet league titles (1975, 1977, 1980 and 1981) and the USSR Cup in 1978. A defensive midfielder and libero, Anatoliy Konkov scored eight goals in 47 appearances for the Soviet Union, captaining the side in 1977 and 1978. He was a runner-up at the 1972 UEFA European Championship and helped the USSR claim bronze at the 1976 Olympics.
• The FFU president retired from football in 1981 and went into coaching, enjoying spells at SC Tavriya Simferopol, Shakhtar, FC Zenit St Petersburg and FC Vorskla Poltava and FC Inter Baku. He also worked with Ukraine's Under-21 team and was in charge of the senior side during the second half of EURO '96 qualifying, handing an international debut to an 18-year-old Andriy Shevchenko. From 1994 to 1996, he was chairman of the FFU competitions committee. Most recently, he worked as FC Stal Alchevsk's sporting director.
• On 2 September 2012, Konkov was elected as the president of the Football Federation of Ukraine. "During my reign as FFU president, I see my main task as not only continuing the activity of my predecessors, but also in producing new ideas which could benefit Ukrainian football's future," he said. "The FFU's priority is to ensure the revival of grassroots football. The FFU will continue to support FIFA and UEFA initiatives aimed at the future development of football."
|1||FC Dynamo Kyiv||12||30|
|2||FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk||12||27|
|3||FC Shakhtar Donetsk||12||25|
|4||FC Zorya Luhansk||12||18|
|5||FC Olimpik Donetsk||12||18|
|6||FC Vorskla Poltava||12||17|
|7||FC Volyn Lutsk||12||17|
|8||FC Metalist Kharkiv||11||16|
|9||FC Chornomorets Odesa||11||14|
|10||FC Metalurh Donetsk||12||13|
|11||FC Hoverla Uzhhorod||12||9|
|12||FC Metalurh Zaporizhya||12||9|
|13||FC Illychivets Mariupil||12||3|
|14||FC Karpaty Lviv *||12||0|