Mutko drama no problem for World Cup: FIFA

Dec 26, 2017 - 10:49 AM The decision by Russia's deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, to step down from his post as head of the country's soccer federation as a temporary measure will have no impact on the 2018 World Cup, FIFA has said.

Amid pressure over allegations of systematic doping, Mutko, 59, has handed over the leadership of the Russian Football Union (RFS) for six months, but remains chief organiser of next year's World Cup in Russia.

Mutko suggested he could also stand aside as World Cup local organising committee head, but said that was a decision for "the head of state, the head of government and the supervisory board."

As chief of the World Cup organisation, he is also contractually bound to FIFA, TASS reported.

Mutko said he was suspending his duties for up to six months.

"I am not resigning and my mandate will be still valid," he said according to TASS.

"I will definitely return after the period of six months, perhaps earlier."

In a statement, FIFA said it "understands Mr Mutko's decision, which was also taken in the interests of the 2018 World Cup in Russia."

It thanked Mutko "for taking such a responsible step and the work he has done so far to prepare for the World Cup and said the decision "will have no impact on the successful staging" of the World Cup.

"In the coming days, FIFA will discuss with all relevant parties and agree on the next steps related to the LOC (local organizing committee)," it added.

RFS director general Alexander Alayev has been appointed acting president of the RFS.

Mutko had reportedly been under pressure from FIFA to resign over doping allegations of widespread abuse of performance-enhancing drugs among Russia's top athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In response to the doping scandal, the International Olympic Committee earlier this month banned Mutko from any participation in all future Olympic Games.

Source: AAP

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