Arsenal footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko launches Ukrainian esports organisation Passion UA

04 September 2023

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Passion UA
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Passion UA

Ukrainian footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko, currently playing for Premier League club Arsenal, has created a new esports organisation called Passion UA alongside former NAVI coach Mykhailo Blahin.

The organisation will debut with a CS:GO roster that will soon start competing at regional and international events. The team consists of five Ukrainian players aged between 16 and 18.

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Zinchenko is a current Ukrainian international and has played in the Premier League, England’s top-flight division, since 2016 when he first joined Manchester City.

Zinchenko announced the launch of the new organisation with a letter to fans published on the Passion UA’s website. He noted that a project such as this was a dream of his for a long time, and that he wishes for the company to redefine the way fans experience and engage with competitive gaming.

The roster of players that will play for Passion UA has been together for a short time under the Zen name, and competed in the IEM Sydney Europe open qualifiers, during which they recorded two wins and two losses, beating known teams Movistar Raiders and Sprout. The team finished third and did not qualify for the closed qualifier for the event in Australia.

Helping the footballer on this new venture is Mykhailo ‘Kane’ Blahin, a former professional player and coach of esports organisations such as Natus Vincere (NAVI) and Gambit. Blahin’s biggest success as coach is winning the 2017 PGL Major Krakow with Gambit and finishing second at the FACEIT London Major in 2018 with Natus Vincere.

Zinchenko said in the letter that the aim for the organisation is to foster a community that thrives on respect, sportsmanship and pursuit of excellence. He also added that he is committed on building a world-class esports organisation that will “stand tall among the giants of the industry.”.

Passion UA did not reveal any details about upcoming competitions it plans to compete in, and the organisation did not share any information regarding other potential rosters and games.

Zinchenko joins a growing list of footballers who have looked to enter the esports industry by launching esports organisations. Notably, this includes the likes of Sergio Agüero (KRU Esports), Gerard Piqué (KOI) and Casemiro (Case Esports) among others.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.