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Russia to incorporate Crimean football after political issues settled — sports minister

April 20, 2015, 20:59 UTC+3 SOCHI
Issue of the Crimean football’s integration into the Russian championships was not on today’s agenda of the meeting between Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Mutko said
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© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

SOCHI, April 20. /TASS/. Crimean football will be integrated into Russia after all political issues are resolved and for now it will remain under the authority of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Monday.

The Russian sports minister said that the issue of the Crimean football’s integration into the Russian championships was not on today’s agenda of the meeting between FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

"Questions regarding the Crimean football were not on the agenda since they are within the competence of UEFA," Mutko aid. "However, we [Russia] have no questions whatsoever. "It was agreed earlier that the Crimean championship will be working not with the Russian Football Union [RFU], but with the UEFA. It will receive temporary jurisdiction until all political problems are solved. After the problems are solved we will incorporate Crimea into the Russian football."

A delegation of UEFA experts visited Crimea on March 5 with the aim of assessing the football infrastructure on the peninsula and discussing an initiative to establish a regional championship. Frantisek Laurinec, a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, told TASS last month that another UEFA delegation would pay its second visit to Crimea in late April or early May.

The UEFA executive said the next step for the Crimean football authorities was to meet with representatives of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and discuss the process of footballers’ registration among other issues.

Early this year after meeting with UEFA President Michel Platini in Moscow, Sports Minister 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 last December 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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