KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Vitaly Mutko, as previously reported here, has formally stepped down as president of the Russian Football Union.

Mutko was the Sports Minister handed the brunt of international blame for the sports doping cover-up project revealed by a variety of whistleblowers, investigative journalists and reports to the World Anti-Doping Association.

The international storm cost Mutko, a long-time acolyte of President Vladimir Putin, not only his role as Sports Minister but his long-secure appointments to the governing councils of both world football federation FIFA and European governing body UEFA.

Russian agency TASSĀ  reported national coach Stanislav Cherchesov as saying: “Today I took part in the meeting of the RFU executive committee, at which many important issues were discussed. Also we learned that Vitaly Leontyevich Mutko was leaving the post of president of the RFU.

“I would like to thank him for the support that he provided to the national team during my two years in charge.”

Mutko stood down temporarily as head of the RFU last December 25 to prepare an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a life ban from the Olympics decreed by the IOC. Alexander Alaev, the general secretary and former beach soccer player, took over as interim president.

This past October the RFU executive committee nominated Alexander Dyukov, chairman of the board of oil giant Gazprom Neft and president of Zenit St Petersburg, for the presidency. Now it is being reported in Moscow that a formal election for a successor to Mutko will be held on February 22 with vice-president Sergei Pryadkin serving as interim hed in the meantime.

CAS has yet to set a hearing date for Mutko’s appeal against his Olympic ban.