Gazprom executive to take over at Russian soccer federation
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian state energy executive is set to take over as president of the country's soccer federation.
The Russian Football Union says the only registered candidate for the position ahead of next month's congress is Alexander Dyukov, who is chairman and CEO of Gazprom oil subsidiary Gazprom Neft.
Until last year, Dyukov was also president of Zenit St. Petersburg, the Russian club owned by Gazprom, overseeing a period of big spending and a UEFA Cup title in 2008.
Mutko resigns as president of Russian soccer federation
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was banned from the Olympics for life because of the country's doping scandals, has resigned as president of the Russian Football Union.
The RFU says Mutko stepped down during Wednesday's executive committee meeting. Russian soccer league president Sergey Pryadkin will serve as the RFU's acting president until its conference in February.
Mutko returns to Russian soccer body after stepping aside
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was banned from the Olympics for life because of his country's doping scandals, has returned to a senior role in Russian soccer.
Mutko said late last year he would step aside temporarily as Russian Football Union president after the International Olympic Committee imposed the ban. FIFA welcomed that decision ahead of Russia hosting this year's World Cup.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says it would be "impossible" to fire Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko for being accused of covering up doping by Russian athletes.
Mutko was Russia's sports minister during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Russia allegedly operated a widespread doping program, including switching tainted samples for clean ones at the Olympic drug-testing laboratory. Russia rejects any suggestion its government ever covered up for dopers.
GENEVA (AP) — Lawyers for Russia defender Ruslan Kambolov have said FIFA closed an investigation into suspected doping, eight weeks before the World Cup begins.
FIFA terminated the case because of a "lack of evidence of such violations," Moscow-based law firm Sila said in a statement on its website.
FIFA declined to comment Friday on the announcement, which included Sila publishing an apparent letter it received by email Thursday from the soccer body's anti-doping manager.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko will no longer have governmental responsibility for the World Cup, the latest soccer-related role he has left after being implicated in the state-sponsored doping scheme.
Another deputy minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, has been appointed chairman of the local organizing committee and will coordinate the tournament at a government level, FIFA and Russian officials said Tuesday.
Rodchenkov: Gov’t order to protect doped Russian footballers
Russian soccer players were protected from being caught doping under direct government orders that laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov said he followed to ensure cheating was covered up as part of a far-reaching conspiracy.
Outlining his involvement in soccer for the first time to The Associated Press, Rodchenkov claimed an instruction to "avoid any scandal" came from then-sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who now serves as a deputy prime minister despite being involved in the doping scheme.
Russia says national team soccer player in FIFA doping case
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian national team player is under investigation for doping by FIFA, according to the Russian government.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is overseeing the government's World Cup preparations, told state news agency Tass he has been informed FIFA is investigating Rubin Kazan defender Ruslan Kambolov.
Kambolov has played twice for Russia, once in 2015 and once in a June 2017 friendly against Chile. Mutko said the case was "not linked to the national team."
Mutko: Russians deserve to be treated as ‘clean and honest’
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian athletes whose doping bans were lifted deserve to be treated as "clean and honest" at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Friday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday reinstated 28 Russians who had been disqualified from the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and lifted their life bans from the games. Other 11 Russians remained disqualified.
Mutko says Russia’s Olympic athletes will be young, clean
MOSCOW (AP) — A new generation of young, talented and, above all, clean Russian athletes will compete at next month's Pyeongchang Olympics, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko.
The Russians must compete under the Olympic flag in South Korea after the International Olympic Committee ruled the country operated a sophisticated doping and cover-up program when it hosted the 2014 Sochi Games.
Mutko files sports court appeal against lifetime Olympic ban
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Court of Arbitration for Sport says Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has filed an appeal against his lifetime ban from the Olympics.
Mutko, a former sports minister, was deeply implicated in Russia's doping plot at the 2014 Sochi Olympics by two IOC commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation.
Mutko's ban was imposed last month ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month.
20 more Russian athletes, Mutko appeal Olympic doping bans
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Court of Arbitration for Sport has received 20 more appeals from Russian athletes against Olympic doping bans, taking the total to 42.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko also lodged his appeal against a lifetime ban from the Olympics, the sports court said on Tuesday.
While Mutko's case will not be heard until after next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the athletes' appeals will be fast-tracked.
Lawyer: FIFA not seeking whistleblower’s Russia doping info
FIFA has made no attempt to contact Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov to gain information about "many" footballers embroiled in the widespread conspiracy by the 2018 World Cup host nation, according to his lawyer.
"Dr. Rodchenkov has information about Russian footballers being protected by the state sponsored doping system," lawyer Jim Walden told The Associated Press.
2018 World Cup chief Mutko quits; still involved in planning
MOSCOW (AP) — Vitaly Mutko bowed to mounting pressure and stepped down as chairman of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee on Wednesday after being dogged by investigations that highlighted his role in a state-backed doping program.
Mutko steps down as president of Russian Football Union
MOSCOW (AP) — Vitaly Mutko, a Russian government official who has been dogged by allegations of involvement in doping, said Monday he would temporarily step down as president of the Russian Football Union.
It's a move apparently intended to deflect international criticism as Russia prepares to host the 2018 World Cup.
Mutko said at a briefing that he would suspend his activities as president for half-a-year, and Alexander Alayev would serve as the acting head of the Russian Football Union.
Olympic ban for Russia’s World Cup organizing chief
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's World Cup can't avoid the tarnished legacy of Russia's Winter Olympics.
The doping scandals that have consumed Russian sports for the last three years took another turn Tuesday as the International Olympic Committee handed a lifetime ban to Vitaly Mutko, the sports minister during the 2014 Sochi Games.
Russian Deputy PM Mutko defiant about Olympic scandal
MOSCOW (AP) — In a combative mood hours before the World Cup draw, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko defended himself and his country amid an ongoing Olympic doping scandal.
Mutko aimed barbs at the IOC and international media, and singled out other countries' doping issues, in a 77-minute news conference at the State Kremlin Palace.
The Latest: Lack of blockbuster opener won’t harm World Cup
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the World Cup draw (all times local):
Russia against Saudi Arabia is no one's idea of an opening-day blockbuster.
Still, Russia's top government official organizing the World Cup says it won't hurt the buzz around the tournament.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko says "it means nothing, all the marketing for the World Cup has been done, the advertising, the TV rights are almost finished," adding "always some games can mean more or less interest."
Putin welcomes soccer world to Kremlin for World Cup draw
MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin welcomes soccer luminaries to the Kremlin on Friday for a World Cup draw that provides a global audience for the Russian president to attempt to burnish the image of a country scandalized by sports corruption.
Report: Whistleblower diary strengthens case against Russia
Diary entries from the key whistleblower in the Russian doping scandal recount several meetings with powerful government officials, and are expected to be used as further evidence when the IOC decides Russia's fate for the upcoming Olympics.
Russia eyes civil lawsuits to overturn doping bans
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia could try to overturn doping bans against its athletes in civil courts, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Monday.
The International Olympic Committee banned two Russian cross-country skiers last week, stripping a gold medal from one. Those were the first Olympic rulings based on allegations that Russia operated a doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The IOC disciplinary commission is due to rule on several other Russian athletes in the near future.
Russia admits delays at some World Cup sites but no crisis
MOSCOW (AP) — A key Russian government official overseeing preparations for the World Cup next year says there are delays at some sites but no need to worry.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who chairs Russia's organizing committee, says that with less than eight months to go until the tournament "there are certain delays on various facilities, but the overall situation is under control and we aren't too worried by it," in comments reported by Russian agency R-Sport.
Russia regains FIFA Council seat after Mutko’s ouster
GENEVA (AP) — Russia has regained its place on the FIFA Council, six months after Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was blocked from re-election.
UEFA member federations on Wednesday elected Alexei Sorokin, CEO of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, by acclamation as one of their delegates to FIFA's strategy-setting committee.
The seat, which runs through 2021, was vacant since May when Mutko was formally forced to step down.
Former top UN official: FIFA leaders ‘violate’ conduct rules
LONDON (AP) — A former top United Nations official cited FIFA leaders who "violate ... standards of good conduct" when she resigned from a role monitoring integrity at soccer's world body.
South African judge Navi Pillay said in an email published on Friday that FIFA put "undue influence" on her governance committee colleague Miguel Maduro, who barred Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko from re-election to FIFA's ruling council.
Infantino faces ethics complaint over FIFA leadership
LONDON (AP) — Gianni Infantino's leadership of FIFA faced renewed criticism Wednesday when two former officials turned on the president with complaints about his conduct.
New York University law professor Joseph Weiler disclosed he has submitted an ethics complaint to FIFA about alleged undue interference by Infantino on the work of the governance panel he served until May.
Russia says TV deal for World Cup still far off
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it is far from reaching a deal with FIFA on TV broadcast rights for next year's World Cup.
With the tournament a year away, there is still no agreement in place to avoid the embarrassing situation of games not being shown in the host nation. FIFA usually signs deals several years before major events.
MOSCOW (AP) — After years of controversy, Russian officials think their World Cup has weathered the storm.
Stadiums are either finished or nearing completion, and the Confederations Cup is going smoothly.
"The project is very big and there are some delays or operational questions, minor questions, but nothing critical," Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees World Cup preparations, said Saturday.
MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA said Sunday it has reached a TV rights deal with Russian broadcasters for the Confederations Cup just six days before the tournament kicks off.
The deal means state-controlled Channel One and Match TV will televise games for the event, avoiding the potential embarrassment of the tournament not being shown in the host nation. However, Russia remains without a deal for next year's World Cup.
Russia set to reclaim a seat on the FIFA Council
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Russia is set to reclaim the spot on the FIFA Council stripped from the country's deputy prime minister.
UEFA said Wednesday that 2018 World Cup organizing committee CEO Alexei Sorokin is the only applicant to fill a seat left vacant by Vitaly Mutko.
Sorokin must pass an eligibility test by a FIFA review panel to be accepted as a candidate and have a clear run at the Sept. 20 election. UEFA member federations will vote at a meeting in Geneva.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian organizers are hurrying to lay a new field at the St. Petersburg stadium which will host the final of the Confederations Cup.
With less than a month to go until the tournament kicks off, the 68,000-seat St. Petersburg Stadium requires its third pitch following severe technical problems with the first two.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's top state sports official agrees that Yelena Isinbayeva cannot continue as chair of the scandal-hit Russian Anti-Doping Agency because of a conflict of interest.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees sports policy, said Isinbayeva "will obviously leave the post as chair of the supervisory board," in comments to the Russian agency R-Sport on Friday.
2 more members leave FIFA governance panel
GENEVA (AP) — In a further blow to FIFA's image under President Gianni Infantino, two more respected members of its governance oversight panel have left following the removal of their chairman last week.
Navi Pillay, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and corporate human rights expert Ron Popper, have resigned, FIFA said on Wednesday.
Their move follows the exit of Miguel Maduro, a Portuguese lawyer and former government minister.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's top sports official said Tuesday he is worried by slow ticket sales for the Confederations Cup.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is overseeing preparations for the tournament in June and the World Cup next year, said the first-phase sales figure of 211,475 tickets, released by FIFA last week, was below expectations.
A total of 695,000 tickets have been made available for the tournament, which begins on June 17. The second phase of ticket sales starts April 19.
MOSCOW (AP) — Host Russia has accused FIFA of overcharging for TV rights for next year's World Cup to cover financial difficulties.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Saturday that FIFA has asked for $120 million from Russian TV channels, up from $32 million paid by Russia for the 2014 World Cup, in comments reported by state news agency Tass.
Russian deputy PM slams ‘dishonest’ Paralympic boss
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has accused the head of the International Paralympic Committee of being "completely dishonest" on doping issues.
The IPC barred the entire Russian team from the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren accused Russia of a state-backed doping program, including in disability sport.
Russia’s World Cup CEO mulls FIFA Council spot
MOSCOW (AP) — The man in charge of organizing the World Cup in Russia is considering running for a spot on the FIFA Council after the country's deputy prime minister was barred from standing.
Organizing committee CEO Alexei Sorokin tells Russian state news agency R-Sport "it would be a big honor" if he is nominated by the Russian Football Union, which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko.
UEFA to organize election for vacant FIFA Council seat
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA is planning to organize a special election for a FIFA Council place after being left with only three candidates for the four vacant seats available.
European soccer's governing body originally had five contenders for the vacant positions — which currently earn $300,000 annual payments from FIFA — but now has only three.
Russia World Cup head Vitaly Mutko has been barred from seeking re-election to FIFA's top decision-making body after failing an eligibility check.
FIFA going to Kremlin for World Cup draw in December
ZURICH (AP) — The 2018 World Cup draw will be staged on Dec. 1 at a Kremlin concert hall in Moscow.
The draw will take place at the 6,000-capacity State Kremlin Palace, a grand structure built inside the Kremlin walls in the Soviet era to hold Communist Party conferences. Nowadays, the venue usually plays host to veteran Russian pop stars, ballerinas and awards shows.
Russia defends record over calls for wide-ranging doping ban
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's deputy prime minister, responding to calls for the nation's sports teams to be excluded from all international competitions because of doping, said Wednesday that the country is "among the cleanest in the world."
Following a summit this week, leaders from 19 national anti-doping organizations also called for Russia to be stripped of the right to host major sports events, a measure which would affect next year's World Cup.
Infantino: ‘Necessary actions & sanctions’ on Russian doping
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Russia will face any "necessary actions and sanctions" after investigators alleged that soccer players had suspicious drug-test samples covered up as part of a wider doping scandal in the 2018 World Cup host nation, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Wednesday.
Russia accused of doping cover-up in national soccer teams
MOSCOW (AP) — Players from Russia's under-21 national soccer team had suspicious drug-test samples covered up, emails released by a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation show.
The emails, released this month as part of WADA investigator Richard McLaren's report on Russian doping, state that there were five suspicious samples in the Russian men's under-17 and under-21 national teams in 2013 and 2014.
Russia accepts IOC plan to retest Olympic doping samples
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will accept an International Olympic Committee plan to retest all drug test samples given by its athletes at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Saturday.
"The IOC has now decided to retest all the samples; let them retest," Mutko, who was sports minister at the time of the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, told Russian state agency R-Sport. He added that Russia will keep a careful eye on the process.
Russia accepts IOC plan to retest Olympic doping samples
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it will accept an International Olympic Committee plan to retest all drug test samples given by Russian athletes at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics.
The Latest: Mutko says Russia will resort to legal action
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the Russian doping report (all times local):
Russia accuses Paralympic body of extortion over doping fees
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia accused the International Paralympic Committee of "extortion" Wednesday after it required Russian officials to pay for extra drug-testing following the country's doping scandal.
Russia's team was banned from the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September after a World Anti-Doping Agency report accused some of the country's leading sports officials of covering up hundreds of failed drug tests.
UEFA delays ruling in mysterious case of Finland player
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has delayed a ruling in a mysterious disciplinary case centered on CSKA Moscow and Finland midfielder Roman Eremenko.
The Finnish football federation pulled Eremenko out of its squad on Oct. 6, saying he had been suspended for a month ahead of a UEFA hearing but without giving any details.
Russia working to stop World Cup field from shaking
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is trying to stop the retractable field at a World Cup stadium from shaking, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Thursday.
Mutko said the field at the 68,000-seat stadium in St. Petersburg has been experiencing problems with the mechanism that allows it to be stored outside and wheeled in for games.
He denied it will cause further delays for the arena, which is due to host Confederations Cup games next summer and one of the World Cup semifinals in 2018.
Report into Russian doping pushed back to December
MONTREAL (AP) — The publication of a final report into Russian state-sponsored doping and corruption at the Sochi Olympics has been delayed to December.
The World Anti-Doping Agency says Canadian law professor Richard McLaren expects to release his second report in "early December."
McLaren's interim report in July implicated Russian minister Vitaly Mutko and more than 20 summer and winter sports. It led WADA to call for a Russian ban from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.