UEFA will not recognize Crimean clubs in Russian competitions

Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:00pm EDT
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BERNE (Reuters) - UEFA will not recognize any matches played by Crimean clubs under the auspices of the Russian Football Union (RFS), European soccer's ruling body said on Friday.

In a statement on its website (www.uefa.org), UEFA said its Emergency Panel had made the decision in light of the "complex and difficult factual and political considerations" with regard to the situation in the Crimea.

"Any soccer matches played by Crimean clubs in the context of competitions organized by the Russian Football Union (RFS) will not be recognized by UEFA until further notice," said the statement.

"UEFA has no wish to prevent clubs from playing soccer. On the contrary, UEFA recognizes that soccer can have very positive and beneficial effects in bringing people together, especially during times of strife and unrest.

"Nevertheless, in order for soccer to take place within an organized sporting and legal framework, such participation has to comply with the terms set out in the UEFA Statutes, which have been agreed by all 54 UEFA member associations.

"The UEFA Emergency Panel has also requested that the UEFA administration, together with FIFA, facilitate discussions with the representatives of the RFS and the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) in order to find a common solution to this situation."

UEFA's decision came 10 days after Ukraine's soccer federation called on both UEFA and world soccer governing body FIFA to sanction the RFS for bringing Crimean clubs into its league structure.

Three Crimean teams - TSK Simferopol, SKChF Sevastopol and Zhemchuzhina Yalta - have been accepted to play in the Russian championship next season.

The trio played matches in the Russian Cup on Aug 12.   Continued...