MOSCOW: Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko appears to have jumped the gun over the transfer of the two top Crimea clubs to the Russian league writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Mutko, a member of the FIFA executive committee, returned home from Zurich at the weekend expressing a belief that the world federation had cleared the way for Tavriya Simferopol and PFC Sevastapol top quit the Ukraine league.

Russia took over Crimea from Ukraine after claiming 96.77pc approval in a controversial referendum. The Ukraine football federation said that the two clubs would complete its league season which ends in May.

Agenda item

Mutko told Russian media after the exco meeting that he had been cleared to accomplish the clubs’ move at the season’s end during a discussion under the ‘sports and political matters’ agenda item.

However a FIFA spokesman said today: “To date FIFA has not received any such request.”

In the 16-club Ukraine league PFC Sevastopol are comfortably in 11th position but Tavriya are effectively bottom. They have eight points from 18 games and the only club beneath them are Arsenal Kiev who have no points after going bankrupt.