Russia is looking to absorb illegally annexed regions such as the Donetsk People's Republic into its sporting system ©Getty Images

Russia has drafted a bill to fully integrate the regions it has illegally annexed from Ukraine into its sporting system.

The State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports has recommended adopting the new legislation at a meeting tomorrow, according to Russia's official state news agency TASS.

It would apply to the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic in the east of Ukraine, which Russia annexed in September amid international condemnation and Vladimir Putin's invasion of the country.

The bill also covers the Ukrainian oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia which Russia has laid claim to despite not being in control of significant parts of these regions. 

More than RUB3.2 billion (£31 million/$39 million/€36 million) has been pledged for sport in the annexed areas but the vast majority of the world does not recognise Russia's claim to them.

Referendums held which apparently reveal support for the annexations are considered to be a sham, and there is global support for Ukraine's goal of recapturing its land.

Officials in the affected regions will be able to recreate regional sports federations, the bill says, and become affiliated to Russian national bodies.

Russia also wants to provide "social support" to successful athletes in the region, including those who have previously competed for Ukraine.

These athletes will "have the right" to receive scholarships, benefits and incentive payments.

This would apply to athletes who have done well in events such as the Olympics, Paralympics and World Championships.

Sports titles assigned previously under Ukrainian rules will still be recognised and Russian insignia will appear on Ready for Labour and Defence facilities. 

Russian troops suffered defeat in the city of Kherson in November as it was recaptured by Ukraine ©Getty Images
Russian troops suffered defeat in the city of Kherson in November as it was recaptured by Ukraine ©Getty Images

"This is an important bill that will accelerate the integration of new regions into Russian sports life," said Dmitry Svishchev, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports, to TASS.

"At the end of last year, we held a meeting with representatives of the authorities of the new regions, then they talked about their problems, including with the accreditation of federations, with obtaining titles, with sports infrastructure. 

"And it is good that these problems are being solved now, with the introduction of this bill. 

"Integration into a single sports system will allow the regions to receive appropriate funding, and athletes and coaches will participate in competitions at the all-Russian level and apply for related payments and preferences."

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko announced the RUB3.2 billion investment during a visit to the Lugansk People's Republic.

"In total, more than 3.2 billion rubles are planned from the federal budget and extra-budgetary sources for the restoration of sports infrastructure and the development of sports in new regions in 2023," he said.

Chernyshenko added that 10 new sports facilities would be created in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, with 10 more restored.

However, Ukrainian forces recaptured the city of Kherson in November and Russia does not control a large area in the north-west of the oblast.

It has also failed to claim the north of Zaporizhzhia and its capital.