Minister Says FIFA, UEFA Will Block Any Proposals For A Joint Russian-Ukrainian League
Russia Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that FIFA and UEFA will "block any proposals for a joint Russian-Ukrainian football league," according to R-SPORT. Many of Russia’s top clubs, backed by a top Kremlin official and state gas firm Gazprom, "are pushing to create the cross-border league to unlock extra revenue, ostensibly to help them comply with new financial fair play rules." Mutko, a former Russian FA head who doubles as a member of FIFA’s exec committee, said, "Here we have the Champions League and the Europa League and obviously neither FIFA nor UEFA will be interested in the appearance of any new competition. And from a sporting point of view I see no logic in this here. We have our league and we should concentrate on that. If there are any financial resources, let’s put them into Russian football." Gazprom head Alexei Miller said that the proposed Unified Football Championship would see 80 clubs from Russia and Ukraine "combined into a four-division structure, with future expansion into other post-Soviet countries." Miller added that the tournament would have a total budget of $1B annually, with $800M of that sum "spent on the 18-club top division" (R-SPORT, 2/26) .