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Issue of Crimean participation in UEFA’s competitions to be discussed in two years

August 18, 2015, 21:53 UTC+3
"UEFA will see how we are developing our infrastructure and will study the level of our championship," the chief of the Crimean Football Union said
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© TASS/Artiom Geodakyan

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. An issue of Crimean football clubs’ possible participation in UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions will be brought up for discussions not earlier than in two years, Yury Vetokha, the chief of the Crimean Football Union (CFU), told TASS on Tuesday.

"UEFA will see how we are developing our infrastructure and will study the level of our championship," Vetokha said in an interview with TASS. "After two years we will return to this issue - that is what we were told by UEFA."

Vetokha also said that the CFU and UEFA have an agreement in force, which stipulates an all-embracing assistance to the Crimean Football Union and behalf of Europe’s governing body of football, however, it is not a financial assistance.

"There is an agreement that UEFA will be helping us with uniforms, sports gear, as well as in helping of advanced training for our football specialists and organization of exhibition matches with teams from other countries," Vetokha said.

"However, it will be all possible only after our championship kick off and progresses," he said. "That is the kind of assistance we are talking about here. Nobody spoke about the money."

The football championship of Crimea, comprising eight clubs, is scheduled to kick off on August 22. A delegation from UEFA is expected to pay a visit to Crimea during the 3rd or the 4th rounds of the tournament.

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.

Early this year after a 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 Crimean Football Championship is 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 governing body of football also announced that a special area would be set up in Crimea, where football would be developing under UEFA’s exclusive auspices.

In July of 2014, 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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