Russia Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, banned for life from the Olympics this month, is temporarily stepping down from his role as head of the country’s Football Union, he said on Monday.
Mutko is to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday against the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban him from the Games over allegations of state-sponsored doping.
“For the period of the proceedings I will suspend my work at the Russian Football Union for six months,” Mutko was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
The IOC said this month it was banning Russia from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after finding evidence of “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of doping procedures.
The IOC didn't impose a blanket ban on Russia ahead of the Rio 2016 Summer Games but said the evidence unearthed before the Summer Games by the Schmid Commission made the doping situation impossible to dispute.
It, therefore, suspended Russia – which finished top of the medals table at its own 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi –from next year's games in South Korea's Pyeongchang that run from Feb. 9-25.
However, in a bid to protect "innocent athletes" the door has been left open for Russians to compete as an "Olympic Athlete of Russia", as long as they satisfy strict conditions and they have no previous penalties or disqualifications for doping and pass all pre-Games targeted doping tests.
Russia is hosting next year’s soccer World Cup in 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.