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SBD Global/August 14, 2014/International Football
Ukraine Wants Russian Football Association Sanctioned For Accepting Crimea Clubs
Published August 14, 2014
COLLISION COURSE: SPORT ACT's Jamie Rainbow wrote the 2018 World Cup host has set itself "on a collision course" with FIFA. The governing rules of the world federation, "by which the Russians are bound, lay down that clubs may transfer from one national jurisdiction to another only with agreement of both associations." The Ukraine federation has made it clear that "it does not agree" with the clubs from the annexed region being "stolen" by the Russians. The row places Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko "squarely in the firing line over a conflict of interest since he is not only a member of President Vladimir Putin's government," but also of the FIFA exec committee (SPORT ACT, 8/13). In N.Y., Patrick Reevell wrote a leaked recording of a meeting of Russia’s top football execs "appears to show them panicked at the possibility that their clubs might be ejected from major European competitions and Russia might be stripped of the 2018 World Cup as they discuss a vote to admit three clubs from Crimea." In the recording, the execs, who control Russia’s top clubs, "recoil from taking a step that might invite more Western sanctions or displease" Putin. On the tape, "they resolve to seek guidance from Putin, in apparent violation of strict FIFA rules" that national football associations be free from political influence. An abridged transcript of the recording "was published Monday by the Russian investigative magazine Novaya Gazeta" and could not be independently verified by the N.Y. Times. The recording "is remarkable for the number of wealthy men exhibiting fear at angering the Kremlin, and also as a rare insight into the absolute authority Putin wields in Russia and the psychological effect of Western sanctions on the country’s establishment" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12).