'Death match' football film given red card

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The Independent Culture

It's a game that every Ukrainian knows about: the "Death Match" of 1942, when Kiev footballers trounced a team of Nazi occupiers and reportedly paid for it with their lives.

But Ukrainian authorities have frozen the release of a film depicting that Soviet defiance of Nazi Germany because of concerns it could ignite explosive emotions just weeks before Ukraine co-hosts the 2012 European Championship.

Officials fear that the Russian film, The Match, may stoke hostility toward German players and fans as Ukraine hosts several games played by Germany's team.

Meanwhile, historians say that while defeating the Nazi team was undoubtedly courageous, there is no evidence to suggest players were executed.