Russia’s World Cup chief Vitaly Mutko can no longer stand for a seat in the council of football governing body FIFA.
FIFA’s review committee has ruled that Mutko’s role as deputy prime minister of Russia rules him out of standing for a place on the decision-making FIFA council, dpa learned.
Mutko, who is president of the Russian Football Union and chairman of the local World Cup organizing committee, confirmed he would not be eligible under FIFA rules and would not be filing an appeal.
His exclusion is a result of FIFA statutes prohibiting any interference by national governments in football affairs, and is unconnected to a separate FIFA ethics inquiry into doping in Russia in which Mutko has been implicated in a World Anti-Doping Agency report.
Mutko said his bar to the FIFA council would have no effect on preparations for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which is also staging the Confederations Cup from June 17 to July 2.
“As far as our stance and preparations for the World Cup finals are concerned, the committee’s decision has no bearing on that,” Mutko told TASS news agency. Mutko has been since 2009 a member of the FIFA executive committee, which last year became the FIFA council.
“I wanted to be re-elected but now the FIFA represented by its compliance committee has somewhat changed the criteria,” Mutko told TASS. “A new criterion, political neutrality, has been introduced.
“They want the organization to be politically neutral and officials and representatives of authorities from various countries not to be elected to all their bodies. This is their right.”
Mutko was one of five candidates for the April 5 UEFA congress elections in Helsinki for four UEFA positions on the FIFA council.
The FIFA council members will be confirmed at the FIFA congress on May 11 in Bahrain.
Source – dpa