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  • FIFA Under Pressure to Investigate Russian Sports Minister


    Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko is a FIFA Council member, head of the 2018 World Cup organising committee and president of the Russian FA
    (ATR) Under pressure to investigate Vitaly Mutko over the Russian doping scandal, FIFA says it will take the “appropriate next steps” after it receives information from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    WADA on Monday demanded the FIFA ethics committee launch a probe into claims made about the Russian sports minister’s involvement in state-sponsored doping cover-ups which have rocked the Olympic movement. Mutko is a FIFA Council member.

    The findings of a WADA investigation led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren revealed that the sports ministry led by Mutko, head of the Russia 2018 World Cup organising committee, “directed, controlled and oversaw” the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping with the active participation and assistance of the Russian secret service.

    McLaren’s 103-page report said Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union, was involved in hiding a doping positive of “at least one foreign [football player] in the Russian league”, McLaren’s report said.

    It also alleged that 11 more doping violations of Russian footballers were covered up in the so-called Disappearing Positive Methodology system spearheaded by the sports ministry from late 2011 to August 2015. The Russian sports ministry “orchestrated systematic cheating of Russian athletes” in 30 sports.

    It was "inconceivable" that Mutko did not know about the corrupt doping system, McLaren said in his report, quoting evidence supplied by Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov.

    FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer tells Around the Rings the world football body “acknowledges the recommendations made by the World Anti-Doping Agency”.

    “The ethics committee is an independent body of FIFA and only it can decide what actions to take in respect to this issue,” she said.

    “For its part, FIFA will request from WADA all details concerning the individual cases of doping in Russian football that are referenced in the McLaren report. Once FIFA receives this information from WADA, it will take the appropriate next steps.”

    In a statement to ATR, the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee said it would “thoroughly” examine” McLaren’s report. “If the report reveals violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the investigatory chamber will take appropriate measures and inform accordingly,” a spokesman said.

    ATR is told that Mutko is keeping his job – for now, despite Russian president Vladimir Putin pledging yesterday to suspend all officials from the sports ministry implicated in the doping scam.

    “Officials named in the commission’s report as direct perpetrators will be temporarily suspended from their posts until the [Russian] investigation is over," Putin said, according to Russian news agency TASS.

    ATR has learnt that Mutko may have escaped Putin's sanctions as his alleged involvement in the state-sponsored doping scheme is said to be indirect and unsubstantiated.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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