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POLITICS: PennAve

Russia-Ukraine conflict keeps soccer clubs apart

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With tensions between Russia and Ukraine increasing, European soccer officials have called a timeout between the two countries.

The Union of European Football Associations, European soccer's governing body, said Thursday that “in light of the current political situation," soccer clubs in Russia and Ukraine won't be allowed to play each other in any UEFA-sponsored competition during the 2014-15 season.

UEFA said the soccer associations of both countries had “expressed concerns about safety and security” if clubs from the two countries met on the field.

Russia's Zenit Saint Petersburg and Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, which have qualified for the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, will be allowed to participate. But when pairings are drawn Friday, the two clubs will be kept apart.

"I think we need to get rid of any potential risks. I don't think we need to give groups of people another reason to show their negative feelings that have built up,” said Anatoly Vorobyov, secretary general of the Russian soccer association, told Russian reporters.

"Football is not politics and there is no need to use football as a political tool. As far as I am aware, those from the Ukrainian side are also in favor of teams from the two countries being kept apart."

• Wire reports were used in this article.

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