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ITF chief says Crimean tennis players have right to play for Russian national team

April 22, 2015, 20:07 UTC+3 SOCHI

International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci Bitti says he can't see any problem as "Crimea is a part of Russia"

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ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti

ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti


SOCHI, April 22. /TASS/. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) sees no problems at all for Crimean tennis players being part of the Russian national team, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti told TASS on Wednesday.

"Crimea is a part of Russia," he said in an interview with TASS. "Crimean tennis players can without any problems play for the national team of Russia and represent the country at various tournaments. I do not see a problem here."

The issue of Crimean athletes transfer under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation emerged after Crimea reunited with Russia in March last year following a nationwide referendum on the peninsula.

For instance, last summer the Russian Football Union (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.

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