#NewFIFANow calls for Vitaly Mutko to be banned from football
What else has Vitaly Mutko covered up, and when will FIFA act on the reports they have on Russian footballers?06 December 2017 | FT Editor
FIFA reform campaign group, #NewFIFANow, has called for the Russian deputy Prime Minister, Vitaly Mutko, to be banned from football consistent with the lifetime ban from the Olympic Movement.
Mutko’s Olympic ban came after a report from former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, confirmed “systemic manipulation” of anti-doping results at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics overseen by Mutko who was then Russia’s Sports Minister.
“We said in July last year that Vitaly Mutko’s position is no longer tenable and FIFA didn’t do a thing,” said #NewFIFANow co-founder, Jaimie Fuller.
“Now we have a report from Mr Schmid that leaves the world in no doubt about Vitaly Mutko’s role in the doping regime.
“In light of his ban from the Olympic Movement, he should not continue to be in charge of the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup,” Mr Fuller said.
Mutko’s football roles include being President of the Organising Committee of the World Cup and President of the Russian Football Union. He was also a leading figure in Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
“Let’s not forget that the Russian bid team couldn't assist FIFA’s own investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments because they no longer had access to their computers,” said another co-founder of #NewFIFANow, Bonita Mersiades.
“It’s laughable that a country that had the capacity 60 years ago to launch a dog into space apparently doesn’t have the capacity to back-up their computers, and everyone knows it. It’s also laughable that FIFA accepted this excuse to protect Russia from any form of scrutiny.
“In light of Mr Schmid’s conclusions on Mutko’s role in covering-up doping – long known via whistleblowers, investigative journalists and Professor Richard McLaren’s report – it is fair to ask what else Mutko has covered-up, particularly in relation to Russia’s conduct in the bidding race,” Ms Mersiades said.
#NewFIFANow says FIFA is also sitting on more than 34 cases of doping in Russian football.
A report by journalist Nick Harris showed that at least 34 Russian footballers are on a list of people to be investigated, including members of the Russian squad that took part in this year’s Confederations Cup.
“We understand FIFA has detailed information on these players and their doping results. So what is FIFA doing with that information? Will these players be allowed to play at next year’s World Cup?” said Damian Collins MP, who is also Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
“Other sporting bodies have managed to examine and deal with similar cases. But good old FIFA still has not done anything.
“If FIFA continues to do nothing, they are condemned by their inaction – and so is the World Cup tournament.
“Football has to stand for its sport and the men and women who play it. Such flagrant flouting of the integrity of sport is unacceptable.
“It may well be that the horse has bolted in relation to Russia hosting the World Cup but, frankly, any nation that allows such activity to happen should not be rewarded with hosting any showpiece event of any sport, and especially not the biggest single sporting event in the world,” Mr Collins said.
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