MOSCOW: Vyacheslav Koloskov, Russian veteran of the former FIFA ‘old guard’, has attacked the decision to bar Vitaly Mutko from standing for re-election to the world federation’s governing council writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The FIFA eligibility review committee ruled that Mutko could not stand to relrpesent European federation UEFA because of the incompability of his political role as a deputy prime minister.

Mutko, who is also head of the Russian Football Union and the local oprganising committee for the 2018 World Cup, had issued a formal statement accepting the decision.

However Koloskov, a close ally of old former FIFA leaders Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter, was not so reticent.

He said: “What’s happened is that one of the biggest countries has been pushed to the fringes of world football.

“The World Cup in Russia is almost upon us and yet now we will not have a representative on FIFA’s governing body. It’s nonsense.”

Koloskov was a long-serving vice-president of FIFA first as head of the Soviet Union’s football federation and then as a senior member of UEFA after the collapse of the USSR.