July 21 – The 2018 World Cup in Russia has come under yet more scrutiny after sports minister Vitaly Mutko, the tournament’s ultimate supremo, was barred by the International Olympic Committee from attending the forthcoming Rio Games after the damning revelations of a state-run doping system.
“The IOC will not grant any accreditation to any official of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the (independent) report for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad Rio 2016,” said an IOC statement.
An independent inquiry commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency said the Russian sports ministry organised a “state-dictated failsafe system” of cheating by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics and other major events hosted by Russia.
Deputy sports minister Yury Nagornykh is among officials to have been suspended by the Kremlin since the report was released on Monday.
Mutko, who sits on FIFA’s ruling Council, played down his ban but it will not be lost on those who believe Russia should not be allowed to stage top-flight sporting events after seemingly covering up widespread cheating.
“For me, the main thing is that our team attends the Olympic Games,” Mutko was quoted as saying.
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