Russian minister who cheered hooligans after England violence 'barred from Fifa re-election'

Vitaly Mutko applauded Russia's fans after their clash with England last summer

Vitaly Mutko attracted fierce controversy for his bullish stance after Russia's match with England last summer

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Russian minister who sparked controversy by applauding his country's fans after their violent clash with England at Euro 2016 has been barred from re-election by Fifa.

Reuters, citing sources close to the matter, says Vitaly Mutko was blocked in his campaign for re-election to the Fifa Council.

It is claimed that Mutko failed an eligiblity test by Fifa's review committee, because his role in the Kremlin controvenes Fifa's statutes.

The sources cited by Reuters also claim there is no connection between Russia's ongoing doping scandal and today's decision.

Mutko, currently Russia's deputy prime minister, was sports minister when he appeared on the pitch after the game between Russia and England in Marseilles last summer - a match which witnessed horrific violence inside and outsaide the stadium.

Standing in front of the terraces which had seen the most heated clashes, Mutko openly applauded his country's fans - leading critics to suggest he was encouraging football hooliganism.

Russia continues to attract controversy for its hooligan element. Mutko's fellow politician, Igor Lebedev, recently proposed a tournament which has been dubbed 'the hooligan games' where football fans are invited to fight amongst themselves in the name of sport.

Despite the ongoing controversy, the country has been granted host status for next year's football World Cup and Fifa has said the tournament will go ahead as planned.