Russia’s most senior football official has temporarily stood down as he fights a ban given for state-backed doping.
Vitaly Mutko was banned from the Olympics for life in early December having been accused of running a huge Olympic doping programme.
He said he would stand down as president of the Russian Football Union while he contests the ban.
He has always denied taking part in doping but Russia was banned from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
An International Olympic Committee (IOC) report released in early December quoted whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping agency worker, as saying that Mr Mutko, a former sports minister, “created and ran” Russia’s “state-directed” doping programme.
Mr Mutko, he said, “received help from other state officials” including “Vladimir Putin’s authorisation of a decree that required urine and blood samples carried by foreign anti-doping inspectors to be approved”.
Mr Mutko, one of Russia’s deputy prime ministers, said that he would step down “so that our organisations are not disturbed during the legal investigation”. He said he was appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.