By Duncan Mackay

Akhmed Bilalov head and shouldersFebruary 7 - Vladimir Putin has fired Akhmed Bilalov, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) vice-president blamed for the problems over the construction of the ski jumping facility for Sochi 2014.

Russia's President took the action after he had asked yesterday who was responsible for the delay in the completion of the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, which is also massively over budget.

It had originally been budgeted to cost $40 million (£26 million/€30 million) but it is now estimated to cost $265 million (£163 million/€189 million) when it is completed in July.

"The decision about the sacking has been taken," said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak in Sochi, where he and Putin are preparing to take part in the one year to go countdown celebrations.

"People who do not carry out their obligations to such an extent cannot lead the Olympic Movement of our country."

Putin had expressed his fury over the delay when he had visited the ski jump complex, being built in the village of Esto-Sadok on the northern slope of the Aibga Ridge, yesterday.

"How can it be that the vice-president of the Olympics Committee is holding back the development?" Putin had asked when told about Bilalov's responsibility.

"Well done," he added sarcastically.

"You are really working well."

Vladimir Putin at RusSki Gorki Jumping Center February 6 2013Vladimir Putin was furious over delays at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center when he visited it

Bilalov, 42, has also lost his job as chief executive of Northern Caucasus Resorts, a Russian state company.

Two years ago he had travelled to Davos for the World Economic Forum with then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to promote plans for a $15 billion (£10 billion/€11 billion) string of ski resorts high in the North Caucasus Mountains, which is home to the highest peaks in Europe, but also the centre of an Islamist insurgency that has been blamed for terrorist attacks.

Five major developments are envisioned, including one at the foot of Mount Elbrus, at 18,510 feet, the tallest peak in Europe.

Ski lifts would reach up to 4,164 metres, more than 300 metres higher than the highest cable cars in the Alps.

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