Russian Annexation A Blessing In Disguise For Crimea Football Fans SIMFEROPOL CRIMEA Vladimir Putin may have annexed Crimea in one fell swoop, seizing control of government and economy; but the president’s power apparently stops at the gates of Crimean football stadiums caught now in a twilight world between Russia and Ukraine.
Russian Annexation A Blessing In Disguise For Crimea Football Fans
After the 2014 annexation, declared illegal by Kiev and the West, clubs from the peninsula could no longer compete in the Ukrainian league. Three played several months in Russia’s 2nd Division, but in December the European body UEFA banned them from Russian competition.
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FIFA and UEFA, he said, stick to the letter of the law. Our players are stuck between Russia and Ukraine,” the 43-year-old CFU head said. For a territory as passionate about football as Crimea, a painful predicament.
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Yuri Vetokha, President of the newly-founded Crimean Football Union CFU told Reuters the biggest problem facing him was documentation. Crimean players already had Russian passports, but their contracts were tied to the Football Federation of Ukraine FFU which deems Crimea their territory.
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The FFU refuse to send us their transfer clearance so that the footballers can play under the jurisdiction of Russian football,” he said in an interview. As a result 80 percent of our players including youth and childrens sides are considered still to be Ukrainian. UEFA itself caught in the prickly undergrowth of East-West politics, declared Crimea, for want of a better term, a special zone.