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SIMFEROPOL, April 21. /ITAR-TASS/. One hundred and twelve leading Crimean athletes have applied for Russian citizenship, Valery Kosarev, the head of the permanent commission for education, science, youth affairs and sport of the Crimean State Council (parliament), told ITAR-TASS on Monday.He said that a total of 170 Crimean athletes, including Olympic, World and European champions, were expected to obtain Russian citizenship.
Kosarev said that many Crimean athletes could not receive Russian passports yet because they had already applied for competitions, including world championships, as members of the Ukrainian national team.
“If they become the citizens of Russia now, they will have to withdraw from all world championships, World and European Cups and other competitions. That would be critical for them because the athletes must compete,” Kosarev went on to say.
The same is true of the players of the Tavria soccer club who cannot obtain Russian passports at the moment.
“They will be unable to compete in the Russian championship but will be kicked out of the Ukrainian championship,” Kosarev explained, adding none of the athletes have so far refused from adopting the Russian citizenship.