Ukraine’s football federation calls on FIFA, UEFA to suspend Russia over Crimea crisis
NYON, Switzerland — Ukraine’s football federation called on FIFA and UEFA on Thursday to suspend 2018 World Cup host Russia from international football over the Crimea crisis.
Hours later, UEFA insisted Ukrainian and Russian officials held a "constructive and ordered discussion" at its headquarters earlier Thursday "with goodwill shown by both sides."
The Ukrainian federation was enraged when three clubs from Crimea, annexed by Russia in March, moved to play in Russian domestic competitions.
UEFA has already ruled that it will not recognize the results by Crimean clubs. UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said Thursday that a team winning a Russian competition after playing a Crimean club would not qualify for Europe.
Ukrainian federation president Anatoliy Konkov, who didn’t sanction the Crimean clubs moving, called on FIFA to suspend Russia from world football claiming it "seriously violates its obligations."
Any suspension would prevent national and club teams from taking part in international matches, including the Champions League and European Championship qualifiers. FIFA officials would also be prevented from going ahead with meetings with 2018 World Cup organizers next week in Zurich, while Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko would be stopped from attending the FIFA executive committee meeting next Thursday and Friday.
In a letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, Konkov said the Russians are "ignoring the basic principles of the football family," decrying the "howling infringement" of Ukrainian football.
But UEFA is hopeful of a rapprochement between the federations.
"There is optimism that a solution can be found which allows football to be played in Crimea, in a manner consistent with the statutes of both UEFA and FIFA," Infantino said.
The European Union and United States have imposed sanctions against Russia to punish its involvement in the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.