The Russian Federation's Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, criticized on Friday , a decision by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) regarding Crimean football clubs.
"UEFA is killing professional football," Mutko said in response to Thursday's decision forbidding Crimean football clubs from playing in events organized by the Russian Football Association.
Asserting that the decision is not to the benefit of football, Mutko added: "What will these teams do? They can play neither in Ukraine nor in Russia. What will the fans and footballers do?"
UEFA banned Crimean football clubs SKChF Sevastopol, Zhemchuzhina Yalta and Tavria Simferopol from playing in competitions run by the Russian Football Association, starting from the New Year.
The decision came in response to Crimea unilaterally declaring its independence by leaving Ukraine and joining Russia in a referendum last March.
The Russian Football Association will thus be unable to hold any football events in Crimea without first gaining the approval of UEFA and Ukraine.
Russia made an application to Ukraine to allow Crimean teams to play in the Russian Division, however their request was rejected.
UEFA is the top decision maker in European football.