Vitaly Mutko has been barred from standing for a re-election for a place on FIFA's ruling Council ©Getty Images

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has been barred from standing for re-election to FIFA's ruling Council after he failed an eligibility check.

Mutko, part of FIFA's Executive Committee in 2009, had initially been confirmed as a candidate back in December.

FIFA claim his role with the Russian Government, which goes against the statutes of world football's governing body, is the reason for FIFA's decision and is not connected to the allegations against him in the McLaren Report.

"Mr Vitaly Mutko, on the other hand, was not admitted as a candidate for the position of member of the FIFA Council due to his position as Deputy Prime Minister," a FIFA statement read. 

"The Governance Committee having previously decided that FIFA’s general principles of political neutrality and the prevention of any form of government interference and, in particular, the obligation imposed by art. 14 of FIFA Code of Ethics on FIFA officials to remain politically neutral with respect to governments, create a structural and inherent incompatibility with being a member of government, the Review Committee applied such criteria in assessing the eligibility of Mr Vitaly Mutko, leading to a final decision of non admissibility by the Governance Committee."

Mutko, President of the Russian Football Union, confirmed the news in an interview with news agency TASS, where he also insisted it would not affect preparations for next year's World Cup.

He also dismissed any suggestion that he would appeal the ruling.

"As far as our stance and preparations for the World Cup finals are concerned, the [Eligibility] Committee’s decision has no bearing on that," Mutko told Russia's official news agency.

"I wanted to be re-elected but now the FIFA represented by its compliance committee has somewhat changed the criteria.

"A new criterion, political neutrality, has been introduced. 

"They want the organisation to be politically neutral and officials and representatives of authorities from various countries not to be elected to all their bodies. 

"This is their right.

"There is no talk about an appeal. 

"This is public work, everything is normal."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino declined to directly mention Vitaly Mutko when asked at a press conference yesterday ©Getty Images
FIFA President Gianni Infantino declined to directly mention Vitaly Mutko when asked at a press conference yesterday ©Getty Images

Today's announcement means the other four UEFA candidates for the FIFA Council - Hungary’s Sandor Csyani, Cyprus’ Costakis Koutsokoumnis, Montenegro’s Dejan Savicevic and Iceland’s Geir Thorsteinsson - are all set to be elected unopposed.

Mutko was implicated in the McLaren Report, which alleged that over 1,000 Russian athletes had been involved in a state-sponsored doping system, in operation from 2011 to 2015.

Russian Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh, who decided which of the Russian competitors would benefit from the cover-up, has since been dismissed from his role.

Mutko's alleged involvement in the scheme prompted scrutiny of his role within FIFA, which had been the subject of criticism due to his position within the Russian Government.

World football's governing body has claimed to be against Government interference in sport, with one of their statutes stating Confederations must be "independent and avoid any form of political interference".

FIFA President Gianni Infantino declined to directly mention Mutko when asked at a press conference in London following the 11th Executive Football Summit yesterday.

Asked why FIFA continued to make an exception for Mutko, he replied: "As I have said already, there is a Governance Committee in place already and they have to answer these questions, it is not up to me to make a judgement.

"We have rules and statutes, they apply them and when they decide with regard to any of the candidates for any of the elections, then we have to respect their decisions. 

"The rest is about speculation, what happened in the past in FIFA is the past and now there are procedures and bodies in place."

Belgium's Michel D'Hooghe, Turkey’s Senes Erzik and Cyprus’ Marios Lefkaritis are all standing down from the FIFA Council.

The election is due to take place at UEFA’s 41st Ordinary Congress in Finland’s capital Helsinki on April 5.