Russia doping crisis: Who is Vitaly Mutko, Russia's minister of sport at the centre of Wada's report?

The Fifa Executive Committee member who once claimed 97 breakfasts on his expenses account

Mark Critchley
Tuesday 10 November 2015 17:07
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Russia's minister of sport Vitaly Mutko
Russia's minister of sport Vitaly Mutko

Who is Vitaly Mutko?

Mutko is Russia’s minister of sport, a role he has held since 2008. He was the chairman of his country’s successful bid to host the 2018 World Cup and now heads the committee organising the tournament.

Since 2009, Mutko has also been a member of Fifa’s Executive Committee, the main decision-making unit within world football’s governing body. What’s more, he is currently the president of the Russian Football Union, the country’s equivalent to the FA.

What is he accused of?

Dick Pound, former president of the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) and chair of the independent commission which found “state sponsored doping programme” in Russia, accused Mutko of being “aware” of the doping and its cover-up.

Pound's commission said it had “serious doubts” as to whether Rusada, the Russian anti-doping agency, was independent of Mutko’s ministry, which had done “nothing to investigate the serious allegations of criminal conduct on the part of Russian sport officials.”

The commission alleges that Mutko, as the country’s minister of sport, must have known about the state’s involvement and is, in effect, complicit in its cover-up.

“It was impossible for him not to be aware of it,” Pound told a press conference on Monday. “And if he’s aware of it, he’s complicit in it.”

Has he been accused of wrongdoing before?

During Vancouver 2010, Mutko was accused of squandering taxpayer’s money while his country produced one its worst-ever Winter Olympic performances.

A report by the Audit Chamber, Russia’s financial watchdog, found that Mutko’s hotel expense bill was twelve times higher than the official limit, totalling $32,400.

The report alleged that Mutko had charged 97 breakfasts to his expense account during the team’s twenty-day stopover, costing over $4,500 alone.

Are Fifa acting after Wada’s report?

A spokesperson from world football’s governing body confirmed yesterday that the organisation will “carefully analyse the findings of the report”.

How has he responded to the accusations?

Mutko has refuted the allegations against him, criticising Wada’s report as “baseless” and calling into question the commission’s findings in the process.

“There is the report of the commission and there is the opinion of Mr. Pound, who actually overstepped and exceeded the competence of this commission, and gave his personal assessment, rather a general assessment of the entire anti-doping activities in Russia,” he told Russia Today.

“You can’t just go on like this. You need to understand our sentiment. Sometimes it is just offensive. The country has done so much to provide support for sports and still all the time we have to prove something to someone.

“After all, we are talking about the president of the international track and field federation who is facing charges, not Russia! So why are we blaming Russia?

“There are dozens of publications alleging the use of doping,” Mutko added. “I won’t name the specific countries or athletes, and no one established special commissions to investigate that.”

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