Vitaly Mutko, Russian Deputy Prime Minister, who has been the Chairman, Russia 2018 World Cup Organizing Committee, Wednesday, stepped down for the Organizing Committee Director, Alexei Sorokin, who takes over, effective from today as the Chairman.  Mutko was banned for life from the Olympic Games, December 5, after International Olympic Committee said he was involved in state-backed doping programme.

Mutko said: “He will interact with FIFA. I will concentrate on work in the government. There is still a lot of work but I am absolutely sure that everything will be prepared in time. We expect that on May 30 we will meet all the obligations that the government gave FIFA”.

He stated that Sorokin would continue his role as chief coordinator for the preparations to host the World Cup in Russia next summer until Russian leadership decides otherwise.  His decision to step down came after a meeting of the Russian government’s coordination council for the World Cup preparations, which Mutko also chairs.


Sorokin, 45, served as  Executive Director of the Russian Football Union between 2008 and 2010 and has overseen Russia’s World Cup bid since 2009.

Russia 2018 Organizing Committee’s statement published by TASS agency said the change in leadership will have no consequences on the process of preparations for the world championship. According to the statement, Mutko would continue to oversee the preparation by the regions and coordinate building the necessary infrastructure in his role as the Deputy Prime Minister.

On Monday, Mutko announced he would file a claim in Court of Arbitration for Sports to contest his Olympic ban.  He said he would suspend his duties in Russian Football Union for the duration of the proceedings. On Wednesday he said his claim has been filed.

Mutko, 59, until this week, retained his positions in Russia throughout the doping scandal.  He has maintained that Russian Athletes were clean at the 2014 Olympic Games.   In March, Mutko was barred from sitting on FIFA Council where Russian sports official had a seat since 2009, to avoid what was seen as potential conflicts of interest with his government role.