Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Vitaly Mutko today stepped down as Chairman of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, after stepping aside as President of the Football Union of Russia (FUR) for six months to concentrate on an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a life ban from the Olympics. Mutko was sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this month, which accepted evidence that he was involved in State doping of Russian athletes.
‘It is with great regret that the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) has learnt of the decision taken today by Vitaly Mutko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, to tender with immediate effect his resignation as Chairman of the LOC and from all related positions, including the Chairs of the LOC Managing Board and the LOC Supervisory Board’, read a statement emailed by the Russia 2018 LOC media office. ‘At the level of the Local Organising Committee, LOC CEO and FIFA Council member, Alexey Sorokin will be responsible to deliver the 2018 FIFA World Cup in his dual role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee’.
In an FUR statement, Mutko said that he had taken the decision to ‘allow the FUR to function safely’, adding that he was ‘not talking about resignation’ from the FUR. Mutko was Russia’s Minister of Sport and is implicated as directing State doping in Russia in the affidavit (PDF below) provided by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov to the IOC’s Schmid Commission. He was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister in October last year, after Richard McLaren published the first Independent Person (IP) Report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), outlining allegations of State doping in Russia.
Because of his position as Deputy Prime Minister, FIFA ruled that Mutko was ineligible for the FIFA Council as he was not ‘politically neutral’ as required by Article 14 of the FIFA Code of Ethics. Mutko’s replacement on the FIFA Council is the new Chairman of the LOC, Alexey Sorokin (Алексей Сорокин). Until 2008, Sorokin was Deputy Head of the Moscow Government’s Sport Committee when he left the post after being appointed as the FUR’s Director General.
Mutko’s temporary replacement as President of the FUR is Alexandr Alaev (Александр Алаев), who replaced Sorokin as Director General of the FUR in December 2013. He has been a member of UEFA’s Marketing Advisory Committee since 2015, and was appointed Chairman of its Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee in June this year. ‘I really hope that Mutko can return as soon as possible to the post of President of the FUR, as it is very necessary to us’, he said in the FUR statement.
Mutko remained in both his FUR and Russia 2018 posts until WADA announced that it had provided data from the Moscow Laboratory’s Information Management System (LIMS) to international federations, including FIFA. It is understood that the LIMS database, which details all testing undertaken by the Moscow Laboratory from January 2012 until August 2015, was supplied to WADA by Dr. Rodchenkov.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SKR) has since appealed to FIFA for a joint ‘objective and comprehensive’ investigation based on the information supplied by WADA. The SKR also emphasised that its investigation into Dr. Rodchenkov for ‘abuse of power and the destruction of doping tests of athletes’ remains open. That investigation began in June last year, and places Dr. Rodchenkov at the centre of an illegal trade to supply prohibited substances to athletes.
In November, FIFA confirmed that it is still investigating allegations of doping in Russian football. FIFA has yet to launch disciplinary proceedings against Mutko, despite allegations in WADA’s IP Reports that he covered up the positive test of a Russian footballer.
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