Russian football chief Vitaly Mutko has announced he is temporarily stepping down from his post.
Mutko, the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), is stepping aside for up to six months, reportedly to fight his ban from the Olympics for state-sponsored doping.
Mutko was banned for life by the International Olympic Committee last week over the Russian doping scandal.
“I have made a decision and informed the RFU executive board about it,” Mutko said in quotes reported by Russian news agency TASS. “One of the union’s regulations state that if a president is unable to fulfil his duties, he should step down.
“In order for the RFU to proceed with its work I have requested to suspend my duties for the period of up to six months. I am not resigning and my mandate will be still valid. I will definitely return after the period of six months, perhaps earlier.”
The RFU said in a statement its director general Alexander Alayev had been appointed acting president.
Former minister of sport Mutko is deputy prime minister of Russia and also chair of the organising committee for next summer’s World Cup.
According to reports, he has said he will continue in both of those roles.
FIFA has so far declined to follow in the footsteps in the IOC and sanction Mutko, claiming the allegations against him have nothing to do with football.