Arkady Dvorkovich will be tasked with coordinating the tournament at a Government level ©Getty Images

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has officially replaced Vitaly Mutko as head of the local Organising Committee for this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, it was announced today.

Dvorkovich takes over from fellow deputy Prime Minister Mutko, who resigned in December after claiming he wanted to focus on his Government work.

Mutko, who also relinquished his role as head of the Russian Football Union, maintained he would still play a role in delivering the tournament despite stepping down.

Today's announcement, however, means the former Sports Minister now has no Governmental involvement in preparations for the competition.

It was initially planned that Russia 2018 chief executive Alexey Sorokin would be the replacement for Mutko.

Dvorkovich was confirmed as the chairman of the Organising Committee today, however.

The 45-year-old, considered a close ally of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and a key player in Russian politics, will be tasked with coordinating the tournament at a Government level, according to FIFA and officials in the host country.

Sorokin, elected as a member of FIFA's ruling Council last year, will continue to serve as director and chief executive.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich replaces Vitaly Mutko as the head of the Organising Committee ©Getty Images
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich replaces Vitaly Mutko as the head of the Organising Committee ©Getty Images

"We have made the decision to make Sorokin director general, while my colleague Arkady Dvorkovich will chair the local Organising Committee," Mutko said.

A FIFA spokesperson told Russia's official state news agency TASS that they would work closely with Dvorkovich following his appointment.

"FIFA has acknowledged the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as the LOC chairman," the spokesperson said.

"We will continue to work closely with the LOC leadership through Mr. Dvorkovich and the LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin on all operational matters ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup."

The announcement came as Russia celebrated 100 days to go until the tournament begins with the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14.

Mutko remains a controversial figure in Russian sport after he quit his two leading football positions to fight his life ban from the Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned the 59-year-old from all future editions of the Games - including last month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - for his role in the "systematic manipulation" of anti-doping results at Sochi 2014.

There was no evidence linking Mutko, Sports Minister from 2008 to 2016, or President Vladimir Putin with the scandal.

A report from the IOC's Schmid Commission into Russian doping ruled however, that Mutko was ultimately responsible as he was head of the department.