Fifa bars WC 2018 head from the body’s re-election

Dhaka,  Sat,  29 April 2017
Published : 10 Mar 2017, 18:18:49
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Fifa bars WC 2018 head from the body’s re-election

Fifa bars WC 2018 head from the body’s re-election
The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has been barred from standing for re-election for a place on the Fifa council.

Mutko, who is also head of the Russian Football Union, has failed an eligibility test carried out by the Fifa review committee. It is believed he has been barred because his ministerial role contravened the statutes of the global football body and that the decision was not connected to the doping scandal which has engulfed Russian sport, reports The Guardian on Friday. 

“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 the Tass news agency. “I wanted to be re-elected but now Fifa, represented by its compliance committee, has somewhat changed the criteria. A new criterion, political neutrality, has been introduced. They want the organisation 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. There is no talk about an appeal. This is public work, everything is normal.”

Mutko was Russia’s minister of sport from 2008 until last October, when he was promoted to his current position. Russian sport was rocked last year by the publication of the McLaren report, commission by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which detailed a system of state-sponsored doping in the country.

It said that Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping cases from a variety of sports, including football. The report said that the Russian deputy sports minister, Yuri Nagornykh, had decided which athletes would benefit from a cover-up, known as a SAVE order, although Mutko, it alleged, appeared to make the decision with regard to footballers. Nagornykh was dismissed in October.

Mutko was among five candidates for four four-year term European places on the Fifa council, which makes the key strategic decisions for the global soccer body. The remaining four, who can now be elected unopposed, are Sandor Csyani (Hungary), Costakis Koutsokoumnis (Cyprus), Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro) and Geir Thorsteinsson (Iceland).

Mutko, 58, has sat on the council since 2009, when it was known as the executive committee. Fifa insists that the sport remains free of government interference. Article 23 of the Fifa statutes states that continental confederation such as Uefa must be “independent and avoid any form of political interference”.

In addition, Article 19 states: “Each member association shall manage its affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties.” Although this is a longstanding rule, eligibility checks on candidates for office were only introduced last year in response to a corruption scandal.

The Uefa elections will take place at the Uefa congress in Helsinki on 5 April. Germany’s Reinhard Grindel is the only candidate for a further European place, which has a two-year term.
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