KIEV, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The Ukrainian football federation (FFU) has appealed to FIFA and UEFA to impose the highest possible sanctions on the Russian Football Union (RFU) over what it describes as gross violation of football regulations.
The controversy was caused by the RFU’s decision to allow Crimean clubs to compete in its league following political problems in the region. Ukraine expressed its position in an open letter on the federation’s website on Thursday shortly after FIFA, UEFA,Ukrainian and Russian representatives met in Nyon, Switzerland.
“Football Federation of Ukraine is asking FIFA and UEFA as the highest football authorities to apply sanctions appropriate to a gross violation of the FIFA regulations by the Russian Football Union,” it said in a statement.
“(This is) manifested in the illegal affiliation of some Crimean clubs and peninsula’s football federations and staging matches on the territory of Ukraine without permission of the Football Federation of Ukraine.”
Ukraine insists Russia has no right to include the Crimean clubs in its leagues as the peninsula is officially regarded as an occupied territory and its separation has not been recognized globally.
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March, shortly after Ukrainian protesters toppled pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich.
The RFU’s executive committee decided to include three Crimean clubs teams in the southern zone of its second division, the country’s third tier, after renaming them TSK Simferopol, SKChF Sevastopol and Zhemchuzhina Yalta.
According to FIFA regulations, football leagues or clubs may be affiliated by other associations and play on their territory in exceptional situations and with the consent of all sides. The FFU did not give its consent for any Crimean clubs to join the Russian league.
“Staging football games of the territory of Crimea without consent of FFU is a rough violation of FIFA regulations,” the Ukrainian federation said. It asked UEFA a month ago to impose sanctions against the Russian FA, prompting European soccer’s ruling body to make a statement saying it did not recognizing any matches played by Crimean clubs under the auspices of the RFU.
“At the initiative of FIFA and UEFA a special working group was created that should come up with the decisions to resolve the issue,” RFU president Nikolai Tolstykh told his organization’s website following Thursday’s meeting.
Editing by Ed Osmond