UEFA has confirmed plans to send a delegation to Crimea before June 2017, according to written confirmation received by the Crimean Football Union (CFU).
On 10 March, CFU President Yuri Vetokha presented an invitation from the Head of the Republic of Crimea to UEFA Executive Committee member Frantisek Laurinec and UEFA Director of the Department of National Associations Zoran Lakovic to visit Crimea for the third Yalta International Economic Forum in April at which a discussion will be held on the current state of Crimean football during a session titled “Integration Through Sport”.
“We understand that they will come under pressure from European politicians. I think that Frantisek Laurinec won’t be able to attend due to the sanctions, but Zoran Lakovic is very encouraged and his visit is possible”, Vetokha said. “Even if the UEFA representatives are unable to come in April specifically for the sports session at YIEF, we will be waiting for them at any other time and intend to have a constructive dialogue about the development of football in Crimea. We have already received confirmation from UEFA that they will send a delegation to Crimea before June of this year”.
CFU and UEFA representatives held a working meeting on 10 March at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland at which they discussed the development of football in the Crimea and addressed ways to resolve pressing problems for Crimean football. Vetokha said UEFA plans to allocate EUR 1 million to develop Crimean football. “This money will be allocated to support Crimean football – logistics and infrastructure”, the CFU president said.
During the meeting in Nyon, UEFA representatives indicated they were ready to cooperate with the CFU on various projects, in particular the UEFA Hat Trick programme, which focuses on building mini football fields with an artificial surface. According to the CFU, Laurinec and Lakovic spoke about UEFA’s readiness to provide training, professional development and licensing for Crimean football coaches and referees jointly with the CFU. UEFA representatives also clearly expressed their intention to visit the peninsula in order to assess the situation with the development of football in Crimea on site.
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Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) is an annual international business event concerning economics held in the Crimea. The Forum is organized by the Government of the Republic of Crimea and the Yalta International Economic Forum Fund with the support of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation.
YIEF 2016, which was held on 14–16 April 2016, was attended by more than 1,100 people, including government officials, members of the business community and economics experts. Among them were more than 70 international representatives from 26 countries – politicians, businessmen and other opinion leaders. This is the largest group of foreign guests to come to Crimea on a business visit since the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
During the second YIEF in 2016, 12 investment agreements to the tune of more than 70 billion roubles were signed, and a mechanism was developed to protect foreign investors wishing to work in the Crimea against the negative impact of Western sanctions. The Forum saw the signing of a 32-billion-rouble contract to build a terminal at Simferopol airport, the most ambitious investment project in the recent history of the Republic of Crimea.
YIEF 2017 will run for three days from 20–22 April. Panel sessions will take place on the first day of the Forum with more than 10 thematic discussions planned in three areas. A number of YIEF participants will be interested in sessions devoted to exports from Crimea, the work of the Crimean Special Economic Zone and free customs zone as well as the registration of ownership rights. As in previous years, the main venue for YIEF will be the MRIYA RESORT & SPA, although a number of discussions on the Forum’s first day will take place at different locations, including the White Hall of the Livadia Palace where the 1945 Yalta Conference took place.
The central discussion of the Forum – a major plenary session – will take place on the second day of the event. The main discussion is divided into three thematic blocks: “World”, “Country” and “People”. The “World” block will be devoted to a discussion of the economic situation in Russia from the perspective of international business. In the “Country” block discussion participants will focus on the prospects for the establishment of an innovative economy in Russia that meets the demands of tomorrow. The “People” block will address social issues and nature conservation.
For the first time, the Forum programme will also include cultural events that can be attended not only by Forum participants, but all Crimean residents. An essential component of YIEF 2017 will be sporting events for business meeting participants.