Vitaly Mutko has officially resigned as the head of the Russian local organizing committee for the world cup. Murtko, who is also the Russian deputy prime minister announced his resignation just days after stepping down ‘temporarily’ as the head of Russia’s football union, a position he had held since 2015. He said he was resigning from an active role in organizing the 2018 football world cup which is to be held in Russia so that he may focus on appealing against a lifetime ban from the Olympics handed to him by the International Olympic Committee.
In 2015, the World anti-doping agency accused Mutko of actively participating in a doping campaign by Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics. As a result of the allegation, he was slapped with a
Life time ban from any Olympic activity by the International Olympic Committee. The doping scandal damaged Russia’s credibility as it prepared to host the 2018 football world cup. Mr. Mutko has however maintained his Innocence and is currently appealing the ban.
Vitally Mutko is a 59 year old Russian politician who began his political journey in 1992 when he became the mayor of St. Petersburg. His love for sports saw him hold several top positions in Russia’s sports. He served as the president of Russian top-flight football club Zen it Saint Petersburg in the late 90s. He was then
Instrumental in founding the Russian Premier League in 2001. And served as its president for two consecutive years. He then became a member of FIFA’s executive committee from 2009 until last year when he was prevented from extending his term as a result of the political positions him held in Russia.
Mr. Mutko has always been one of the closest allies of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Putin appointed him as Minister of Sport in 2012. In October 2016, Mutko became Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, a position he holds to date.
The 2018 football world cup that is set to be held in Russia has in recent years been the subject of countless controversies. The country’s football union has been criticized for not doing enough to curb racism faced by foreign players in Russia. Some footballers. Including lvorian star Yaya Toure stated that black players could choose to boycott the tournament if racism is not addressed. Russia’s bid to host the World Cup was also marred by corruption accusations that allegedly influenced the process of selection. But the most damaging controversy probably was the revelation of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes. Whether Mr. Mutko’s resignation will raise confidence in Russia’s ability to host the tournament is still debatable. Only time will tell.