Football clubs from the annexed Crimea region have been banned by UEFA from playing in the Russian leagues.
Three Crimean clubs had already moved from Ukraine’s topflight to Russia’s third tier this season and also played in the Russian Cup.
UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino said: ‘‘The UEFA executive committee decided today to prohibit Crimean clubs to play in competitions organised by the Russian Football Union as of 1st of January 2015 and for the region to be considered as a special zone.
Furthermore the Russian Football Union may not organise any football competition in Crimea without the consent of UEFA and the Football Federation of Ukraine.”
Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko, who did not attend the meeting on Thursday at UEFA headquarters, described the decision as ‘‘going against the ideals of football’‘, despite UEFA and FIFA’s longstanding position prohibiting clubs switching federations without consent.