By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

July 2 - Vitaly Mutko (pictured) is again under pressure to resign as Russia's Sports Minister after a damning Government report into the country's poor performance at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver earlier this year revealed that his hotel suite during the Games cost $1,500 (£986) a night.

The Audit Chamber, Russia's financial watchdog which prepared the report ordered by President Dmitry Medvedev after the team finished only 11th in the medals table at the Games, said in a statement earlier this week that the $100 million (£66 million) preparations were "inefficient, imperfect and involved corruption."

It has now emerged that the 71-page report is also highly critical of Mutko, whose hotel bill was ten times more than allowed under Russia law.

Mutko and other officials in his department stayed at the exclusive Fairmont Hotel during the Games in direct violation of rules that stipulate that they should not spend more than $130 (£85) per night on accommodation.

The total bill for Mutko and his two deputies in Vancouver totalled $34,000 (£22,000).

The Audit report also alleged that several people travelled to the Olympics as part of the official Russian delegation without having any proper roles, including Yana Rudkovskaya, wife of figure skater Yevgeny Plushchenko and daughter of Figure Skating Federation President Valentin Piseyev, who was listed as being an interpreter for the snowboarding team.

The report is also critical of Mutko because his wife Tatyana, used the official delegation’s charter flight to Vancouver, but she paid the 52,000 rubles (£1,098/$1,670) for the ticket only in May after the Audit Chamber launched its probe.

The report also claims that 40 per cent of the quota of tickets given to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) for Vancouver were resold to foreign companies through a company called Olympic Panorama with the remainder being sold to Russian fans at up to 11 times their face value.

National governing bodies also awarded contracts for training facilities and equipment without conducting a proper tendering process. 

Mutko said: "In the operation of any vast industry one will always be able to find violations."

The influence of Mutko, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee since 2009 and former President of the Russian Football Union (RFU), is seen as vital in the country's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

It is widely believed that if it had not been for Russia's bid then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would have forced Mutko to resign after Vancouver, where Russia won only three gold medals - their worst ever performance.

But Medvedev had warned in March that if any evidence of corruption was uncovered then those suspected of being involved would be prosecuted.

Following the publication of the report, Medvedev: "All that happened despite the fact that investments into the training of our athletes were similar to the costs of other countries.

"And if one is to be very frank, they were above those in other countries.

"The way we see it, the problem is not about a shortage of resources, but about their ineffective use."

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June 2010:
 Report finds Russian preparations for Vancouver compromised by corruption
May 2010: Russia must finish top in Sochi warns new Olympic chief
May 2010: Deputy Prime Minister to be officially elected as Russia's new Olympic chief
April 2010: Russian Deputy Prime Minister set to take over Russian Olympic Committee
April 2010: More pressure on Mutko to resign after Russian Parliament slams Vancouver display