MOSCOW: Vitaly Mutko risks a conflict of interest between his role as Russia’s Sports Minister and his position as a member of world federation FIFA’s executive committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

FIFA’s statutes insist that government interference in sport is to be resisted, even to such lengths as a country’s suspension from competing in or hosting international competition.

However Mukto, according to a report from RIA-Novosti, has just been lauding the virtues of government taking a hands-on approach to a country’s international sports ambitions.

In an address to lawmakers, Mutko said: “My position and the position of the country’s President [Vladimir Putin] is very tough: We should have a strengthening of the role of the state (in sport).

“It’s not that we want the increased responsibility but the federations are financed out of state coffers anyway.”

Mukto claimed that a more direct involvement in sport had been responsible for Russia’s table-topping medals successes at the recent Sochi Olympics and Paralympics.

He said: “I understand that this might seem excessive, where you take responsibility for everything, but look at the table: there’s the result. If we had taken another route, it wouldn’t have worked out like that.”

Russia’s ‘decade of sport’ continues with it first Formula One Grand Prix set for October in Sochi, the world swimming championships in Kazan next year and football’s 2018 World Cup.


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