Vitaly Mutko’s Christmas gift to Russia’s World Cup hosting has been to step down as president of the National Football Association.
However conflicting statements have emerged about whether he will continue as head of the 2018 World Cup Local Organising Committee.
Mutko’s decision to step aside “for six months” from the RFU has been viewed as an attempt to draw the fire of Western critics of Russia’s World Cup hosting in the wake of the ongoing doping saga.
Whether this alone will suffice is unlikely.
Sources have indicated that the 59-year-old will continue as a Deputy Prime Minister at least until elections on Sunday, March 18 when Vladimir Putin is expected to be re-elected as State President.