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Aug 13, 2014

Ongoing stalemate over Crimea games

GENEVA -- UEFA has not yet taken any disciplinary action against the Russian Football Union despite three Crimean clubs playing Russian Cup matches without authority.

The Ukrainian football federation urged UEFA and FIFA to act after the matches were played Tuesday.

"We are in contact with both associations but have no further comments to make at this stage," UEFA confirmed on Wednesday in a statement.

Tavria Simferopol lost 2-0 at home to fellow Crimean club SKChF Sevastopol, whose fans ran onto the field. Zhemchuzhina Yalta also lost 2-0, to visiting Sochi.

The clubs are in a political stalemate after leaving Ukraine's league between seasons without UEFA's permission to join Russian competitions.

They competed last season in Ukraine after a March referendum in Crimea strongly supported ceding to Russia, though that ballot is not officially recognized by the international community.

That did not stop the RFU from announcing two weeks ago that all three clubs would enter a regional division of its third-tier league.

UEFA has responsibility over FIFA for disputes involving two member countries within Europe. Its rules bar "combinations and alliances" involving clubs from different associations.

Last week, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said it still hoped for a compromise between the two national federations.

"If they would come up with a joint proposal that would be a very nice signal," Infantino said at UEFA headquarters in Nyon. "Football sometimes makes miracles."

FIFA did not immediately comment Wednesday on the Ukrainian request for sanctions.

Previously, FIFA said it has not been formally approached on the Crimean clubs issue.

FIFA's statutes prohibit government interference in football.

FIFA, which has Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko as an executive committee member, has dismissed calls from some western lawmakers to review Russia's right to host the 2018 World Cup based on support for separatist causes in Ukraine.

Still, any UEFA or FIFA intervention on football issues could affect Russian clubs CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg playing in the Champions League, and the national team starting 2016 European Championship qualifying next month.

UEFA's ruling board must also decide on Sept. 19 whether to choose St. Petersburg among 13 host cities for Euro 2020.

Also on Wednesday, the RFU fined Tavria Simferopol and SKChF Sevastopol for their parts in crowd disturbances at the cup match.

SKChF was fined 30,000 rubles ($831) for fans invading the field, and Ravria was fined 10,000 rubles ($277) for not ensuring security, the Russian body said on its website.

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