NYON: European federation UEFA has issued an order prohibiting the Russian league from including clubs from the annexed Crimea region of Ukraine from playing in its competitions writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

This comes some eight months after three clubs from the contested region – TSK Simferopol, SKChF Sevastopol and Zhemchuzhina Yalta – were admitted to the southern zone of Russian third division and the national cup competition.

Ukraine federation president Anatoly Konkov has asked both world federation FIFA and UEFA to punish the Russian Football Union but attempts to bring the two associations round a formal negotiating table have failed.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino insisted, after an executive committee meeting, that the federation would not involve itself in politics and had thus designated Crimea as a “special zone for football purposes.”

The statutes of both FIFA and UEFA bar clubs from switching federations without agreed consent on both sides.

Infantino said: “Having discussed this with the Ukraine and Russia, and Ukrainian and Russian football authorities, the executive committee came to the conclusion that for the time being the decision has to be to consider Crimea as a special zone for football purposes.”

According to Russian third division rules, only players with Russian citizenship can take part in the league.