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UEFA proposes Crimean football league to consist of 8 clubs, 16 youth sports schools

February 17, 2015, 19:42 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
UEFA delegation is due to visit Crimea to assess the football infrastructure on the peninsula and discuss an initiative of holding a regional championship
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SIMFEROPOL, February 17. /TASS/. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) proposes setting up a regional football league made up of eight clubs and 16 youth sports schools, Georgy Shestak, the Crimean minister of sports, said on Tuesday.

"UEFA representatives proposed a formula of eight professional clubs and 16 youth sports schools with each club having two sports schools," Shestak said. "The meeting [with UEFA] delegation has been moved to early March and I will be seeking to hold this meeting at a proper level."

UEFA informed the Russian Sports Ministry two weeks ago that it planned to send its delegation comprised of members of the executive committee of the governing European football body and other officials to Russia’s Crimea for a visit in mid-February to assess the football infrastructure on the peninsula and discuss an initiative of holding a regional championship. However, last week UEFA announced that it moved the visit to early March.

Last month after meeting with UEFA President Michel Platini in Moscow, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that the UEFA proposed setting up in Crimea an independent football structure, which would unite existing football federations in Crimea and Sevastopol and would be under the temporary jurisdiction of UEFA.

The competition of the mooted Crimean Football Championship is planned to be made up of eight professional football clubs. The club completing the championship’s competition in the last place will be replaced by an amateur Crimean football club, but only in case it complies with the requirements of the professional league.

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.

UEFA also announced 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.

Last July, the RFU permitted the Crimean clubs to undergo licensing by way of a decision to be taken by its bureau. They were included 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 made 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.

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