FIFA has thanked Vitaly Mutko for his “responsible step” in removing himself as the president of the Russian Football Union (RFS) as he appeals a lifetime Olympic ban.
Mutko, who is Russia’s deputy prime minister, was banned by the IOC this month after the release of the Schmid Report, commissioned by the IOC, confirmed allegations of widespread manipulation of anti-doping procedures during his tenure as Russian sports minister, chiefly at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
He is set to challenge the ruling with the Court of Arbitration for Sport while RFS director general Alexander Alayev has been named acting president of the governing body in his stead.
With the start of the World Cup in Russia less than six months away, FIFA praised Mutko for his stance and insisted the developments would not hinder any preparations for the finals.
“FIFA understands Mr Mutko’s decision which was also taken in the best interest of the FIFA World Cup next summer,” a statement read.
“FIFA thanks Mr Mutko for this responsible step and for the work carried out so far for the World Cup.
“Mr Mutko’s decision will have no impact on the successful staging of the FIFA World Cup next summer, as FIFA, the Russian Government, RFU and the LOC continue their fruitful cooperation on the preparations for the FIFA World Cup according to plan.
“In the coming days, FIFA will discuss with all relevant parties and agree on the next steps related to the LOC.”
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