Two Crimean clubs consider whether to quit Ukraine league
18 March 2014, 21:50
Kiev - Crimean-based football clubs Tavria Simferopol and Sevastopol are considering whether to quit the Ukrainian premier league and join Russia's league next season.
Sevastopol are ready to complete the current season in the Ukrainian league but hope UEFA and FIFA will agree to the shift to Russian football, after Russia took control of the Crimean peninsula.
"We are working on an explanatory letter addressed to UEFA, FIFA and the football federation of Ukraine," the president of Sevastopol, Alexander Krasilnikov, told the Russian paper Sport Den Za Dnem.
"We are in close contact with Tavria. UEFA plan a meeting in Kazakhstan on March 24-25. Probably they will review our request. There are certain UEFA regulations and we do not want to face any sanctions."
Tavria were the first champions of Ukraine after the country gained independence from Russia in 1991.
Club representatives said they had not contacted Russian football officials because they were waiting on political decisions. Ukraine does not recognise a treaty signed in Moscow on Tuesday which made Crimea part of Russia.
"We have not received any offers from the Russian Football Union or held any talks so far. To have grounds for negotiations we must wait until Crimea officially joins Russia," Tavria's sporting director, Alexander Boytsan, was quoted as saying by Russian media before President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty.
"The Ukrainian league should decide if they need clubs based on Russian territory and the Russian Premier League should understand how to legitimise it. FIFA and UEFA will have the final word here," Boytsan said.
Ukraine's football federation said in a statement on their website: "We are the witnesses of the unstable situation in our country which unfortunately touched upon football as well.
"Recent events in Crimea made two clubs think about their future. The Ukrainian premier league will review the situation and do their best to put things in order."