Football league created to include Crimea, Donetsk & Lugansk clubs
The creation of a new ‘Commonwealth League’ including football teams from Crimea as well as the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk has been announced.
The competition will also include teams from the Russian-recognized states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with clubs from Crimea and the regions of Kherson, Kharkov and Zaporozhye.
The establishment of the league was announced by a press service on Wednesday. The competition will not be related to the Russian Football Union (RFU), it was added.
The news comes as the integration of Crimea into Russian football has emerged as a particularly hot topic again in recent weeks, after newly-appointed Russian Premier League (RPL) president Aleksandr Alaev said that it was “inevitable” that teams on the peninsula would enter Russian competitions.
Crimean football currently has its own league under “special status,” with UEFA remaining opposed to clubs joining Russian football despite the region rejoining Russia in a 2014 referendum.
It was announced this week that the Russian Football National League (FNL) had established a working group to look at the process of speeding up Crimean integration.
Former Crimean Football Union president Yury Vetokha told Russia’s Match TV on Wednesday that some teams from the region could join the FNL as early as next season.
He added that the newly-announced ‘Commonwealth League’ could run from April to November of next year, featuring more than a dozen teams.
Elsewhere, Russian former FIFA vice-president Vyacheslav Koloskov said this week that the authorities in his homeland should seek to negotiate with FIFA and UEFA on the matter of Crimean football integration, but that if their requests fall on deaf ears, more “radical decisions” may be required.