Russia 2018 chief Sorokin set for FIFA Council as UEFA to unveil Nations League

By Andrew Warshaw

September 19 – Alexey Sorokin (pictured), the public face of next year’s World Cup in Russia, is set to be elected on Wednesday as Europe’s last remaining representative on the FIFA Council in place of the barred Vitaly Mutko, ensuring his country retains an influential voice at FIFA’s top table.

Mutko, one of the most powerful figures in world sport, failed an eligibility test earlier this year because of a clash between his sporting and political interests. UEFA holds a one-off special election in Geneva for the spot vacated by Mutko’s ineligibility together with the withdrawal of former President of the Icelandic federation, Geir Thorsteinsson.

Sorokin will complete UEFA’s eight-strong contingent on the 37-member FIFA Council, an important public relations coup for Russia after the highly embarrassing blow of seeing Mutko – World Cup chief, head of the Russian FA and deputy prime minister – ditched from FIFA’s supreme decision-making body by FIFA’s governance committee which was led by Miguel Maduro before he controversially lost the role.

Thorsteinsson’s election to FIFA’s inner circle seemed to have become a formality once Mutko failed to retain his seat but his unexpected withdrawal left UEFA one person short.

Wednesday’s extraordinary congress will also rubber-stamp two European Club Association members joining the UEFA executive committee and a change to the statutes so that league representatives can also be brought on to the executive committee.

The Congress will be followed by an exco meeting at which a new UEFA vice-president will be appointed following the resignation of  Angel Maria Villar who is being investigated over corruption allegations.

Exactly how UEFA’s new Nations League competition kicking off in 2018, with UEFA’s 55 member associations split into four leagues, will also be worked out.

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