Plans for a Unified Football League (UFL) comprising leading clubs from Russia and other post-Soviet states have suffered a blow with the Ukrainian Football Federation (UFF) stating it would fight any such proposal.
The UFL has secured the backing of a host of top Russian clubs including Zenit St. Petersburg, CSKA Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala, along with the likes of the Russian Premier League and Gazprom. The UFL’s proponents have claimed the new league would drive enhanced sponsorship and television revenues, allowing clubs to better meet UEFA’s financial fair play rules. However, it has faced criticism with FIFA president Sepp Blatter stating he is opposed to the idea of “supranational leagues”, adding the concept “goes against the principle of solidarity of FIFA.”
UFF president Anatoly Konkov has also dismissed the proposal, adding that Ukrainian clubs who seek to join may be subject to disciplinary measures. “The UFF is against the destruction of the world football pyramid, the integrity and system of holding competitions,” Konkov told the Federation’s official website. “I believe that any actions directed toward creating any kind of leagues or other unifications of clubs without our express permission are an unprecedented violation of the statutes of FIFA, UEFA and the UFF, and will be viewed in the context of taking measures for disciplinary responsibility.”
Russian officials are set to discuss the project further at a meeting in Moscow on Monday. Former Russia coach Valery Gazzaev is part of the project and said this week it would consist of two divisions of 18 teams, and aims to launch for the 2014-15 season. He said the first seasons would see a merger of the Russian and Ukrainian leagues before further expansion. However, Konkov added: “All Ukrainian professional clubs are part of the UFF, and that means that without agreement from the Federation they can’t participate in other competitions.”