Crimea-based football clubs PFC Sevastopol and FC Tavriya have been cut from this season’s Ukrainian Premier League following the Russian-led annexation of the peninsula, the football federation said on Thursday.
“We have confirmed new regulations – the number of Premier League teams is 14 (reduced from 16) and the championship starts on July 26,” federation executive Igor Gataullin said.
An additional four clubs from the eastern part of Ukraine, including champions Shakhtar Donetsk, are being forced to relocate temporarily amid the military confrontation with pro-Russia separatists in the region.
Shakhtar need to find a venue for their Champions League matches after European soccer’s ruling body, UEFA, told the Ukrainian federation that it considers Kiev and Lviv the only cities safe enough to host games in the near future.
Cities such as Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Zaporizhya and Luhansk have been deemed out-of-bounds.
Local media have speculated that Shakhtar might opt to play outside of Ukraine, with Bucharest among the possible venues.
Shakhtar will play in the Champions League group stage next season and Metalist Kharkiv and Zorya Luhansk have secured places in the Europa League.
Hundreds of people have been killed in three months of fighting in eastern Ukraine as government forces try to end the rebellion in towns and cities across the Russian-speaking region.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-07-04