Europe

Loan of Ukraine striker called off in Spain after protests

  • FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, Ukraine's Roman Zozulya celebrates after scoring during the first leg 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against France at the Olympiyskiy national stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. The transfer of Ukraine striker Roman Zozulya from Real Betis to second-division club Rayo Vallecano Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017 is being called off in Spain after protests from fans who accused the player of having connections to radical groups back home. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, Ukraine's Roman Zozulya celebrates after scoring during the first leg 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against France at the Olympiyskiy national stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. The transfer of Ukraine striker Roman Zozulya from Real Betis to second-division club Rayo Vallecano Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017 is being called off in Spain after protests from fans who accused the player of having connections to radical groups back home. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 28, 2016 file photo, Ukrainian Roman Zozulya listens to the national anthems ahead of the international friendly soccer match between Ukraine and Wales at the Olympiyskiy stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. The transfer of Ukraine striker Roman Zozulya from Real Betis to second-division club Rayo Vallecano Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017 is being called off in Spain after protests from fans who accused the player of having connections to radical groups back home. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

    FILE - In this March 28, 2016 file photo, Ukrainian Roman Zozulya listens to the national anthems ahead of the international friendly soccer match between Ukraine and Wales at the Olympiyskiy stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. The transfer of Ukraine striker Roman Zozulya from Real Betis to second-division club Rayo Vallecano Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017 is being called off in Spain after protests from fans who accused the player of having connections to radical groups back home. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)  (The Associated Press)

The loan of Ukraine striker Roman Zozulya from Real Betis to second-division club Rayo Vallecano is being called off after protests from Spanish fans who accused the player of having connections to radical groups back home.

Real Betis director Miguel Torrecilla said Wednesday the teams reached a deal to reverse the transfer to "protect the person and the player."

He said the teams' legal departments will try to find a solution to annul Tuesday's deal.

Torrecilla said Zozulya "is having problems with a radical (fan) group" and is "very disturbed."

Zozulya released an open letter to Rayo fans after he was signed, saying he supported the army back home to "help protect" his country, but was not linked to "paramilitary or neo-Nazi groups," as many had alleged on social media.