Vitaly Mutko: Russian deputy PM barred from Fifa re-election bid

Russia's World Cup head Vitaly Mutko
Mutko is an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin

Russia's World Cup head Vitaly Mutko has been barred from seeking re-election to the Fifa Council after failing an eligibility check.

The organisation's review committee says he can no longer have the role because of his position as a deputy prime minister of Russia.

The exclusion is due to a clampdown on government interference in football.

Mutko, who is also president of Russia's football federation, says he will not appeal against the decision.

After being promoted from sports minister to deputy prime minister last year, Mutko retains responsibility for sport - despite being directly implicated in the McLaren report which alleged a state-back Russian doping programme.

"I wanted to get re-elected, but Fifa has changed its criteria," he said. "A new criterion has been introduced: political neutrality. They want the organisation to be politically neutral, so that officials and representatives of the government don't get elected, and that's their right."

It means four men are in line for the four European places on the Council which will be decided on at next month's Uefa Congress - Hungary's Sandor Csanyi, a current Uefa executive committee member, Geir Thorsteinsson, the president of Iceland's soccer federation; former AC Milan player Dejan Savicevic who is Montenegro's federation president; and Costakis Koutsokoumnis, the Cyprus federation president.

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