MOSCOW: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutlko has insisted the Olympic row over widespread doping in Russian sport is no reason to doubt the 2018 staging of the World Cup.

Mutko, a FIFA Council member who is also head of both the Russian local organising committee and football federation, had been in the eye of the Olympic storm. But, as reported by Sputnik, Mutko said the two issues were entirely separate.

He said: “I don’t see any connection between the current situation . . . and the 2018 championship. I don’t see any reason for it.”

However Mutko did reveal that action had been taken after the fan violence provoked by Russian hooligans at the European Championship finals in France last month.

He said leaders of the All-Russian Fans’ Union, including its chief Alexander Shprygin, were being sacked.

Mutko said: “The All-Russian Fans’ Union has let us down. We have made a decision that its top executives should resign. At the upcoming conference we will exclude this organisation from the Russian Football Union.”

He added that Shprygin has upset the RFU by returning illegally to France after being expelled initially following his involvement in fighting with England fans in Marseille.