MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is firm against letting three Crimean football clubs in the Russian national championships, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Tuesday.
UEFA Secretary-General Gianni Infantino announced on December 4 that Europe’s football governing body prohibited three Crimean football clubs, namely TSK Simferopol, SKCF Sevastopol and Zhemchuzhina Yalta, from competing in the Russian championship starting January 1, 2015.
“FIFA Executive Committee did not consider the issue of the Crimean clubs at its session in Marrakesh (last week) believing that the issue is solely in the competence of UEFA officials, who do not want to meet Russia halfway until the complicated political situation is resolved,” Mutko told journalists.
“They (UEFA) believe that Russia is violating FIFA charter by accepting at its championship clubs from another national federation,” Mutko said. “UEFA stated that it was ready to financially support the Crimean clubs and expressed hope that the political situation would be resolved in the nearest future.”
UEFA announced on December 4 that the Russian Football Union (RFU) would not be subjected to penalties for placing the three clubs to the Second Division of Russia’s championship in the 2014/2015 season.
The European football union also announced that a special area would be set up in Crimea, where football would be developing under UEFA’s exclusive auspices.
At the end of July, the RFU permitted the Crimean clubs to undergo licensing by way of a decision to be taken by its bureau. They were entered in the second division of the Russian championship.
The decision was challenged by the football federation of Ukraine and the UEFA passed an intermediary resolution on August 22. It said it did not recognize the introduction of the three Crimean clubs in the second division of Russia’s championship and ruled to hold an extra meeting of the parties concerned “to tap a common solution to the situation.”
Representatives of FIFA, UEFA, the RFU and the Ukrainian football federation had four meetings in September. A decision was taken then to set up a working group that would be given the task of settling the awkward situation around football in Crimea, which reunited with Russia in March 2014.