MOSCOW – Football clubs from the Crimea region annexed by Russia will play in the Russian leagues this season.
The Russian Football Union says in a statement that clubs from the cities of Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta will play in the second division south, a third-tier Russian league.
Since Russia annexed the peninsula in February, it has registered five new clubs there. The Sevastopol teams will use a stadium occupied by now-defunct Ukrainian Premier League team FC Sevastopol last season.
Ukrainian Football Federation spokesman Pavel Ternovoi told The Associated Press that Russia had no right to administer football on what Ukraine considers its territory, and called on FIFA and UEFA to "take corresponding decisions" in response.
Russian organizers of the 2018 World Cup have said Crimea could host teams' training bases during the tournament.