UEFA president Gianni Infantino will not judge Russia based on McLaren Report

He was speaking to Rob Harris of the Associated Press

Gianni Infantino

Image: Thanassis Stavrakis / AP/Press Association Images

New UEFA President Gianni Infantino says he will not judge Russia regarding the investigation which documented state sponsored doping of athletes.

The country are set to host the 2018 World Cup in two years time and Infantino told The Associated Press that he is working well with Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko.

Details in the McLaren report, which was published earlier this year, accused Mutko of personally intervening in the doping programme.

"It's not my job to judge this report," Infantino told AP. "As president of football my concern has to be on football matters, has to be on doping in football.

"If there are elements on doping and football, then FIFA's bodies will deal with that.

Of the 2018 World Cup, he insisted that people should look to it with an open mind and allow Russia to present the its best side to the world.

"We should see this as a chance rather than trying to be negative. We should see the World Cup in Russia as a chance for FIFA but also for Russia to show itself in a positive light as an organizer and a welcoming country.

"Let's work in a positive sense in this direction rather than trying to undermine this event."

 Mutko, who  was banned from attending the Olympics by the IOC because of the scandal, sits on the FIFA's ruling council and leads Russia's football federation. He retains the backing of Infantino.

"We have committees in place. Whatever evidence Prof. McLaren [who released the eponymous report] has, he will send it to the ethics committee of FIFA, and they will instruct or not a case. As long as this doesn't happen I will certainly not participate in any speculation or any problems.

"I am working with the people who are there, who are legitimately elected ... he has been working in terms of the organization of the world, as far as I can judge, in an excellent way so far. So, for me and for us, it is certainly very good to continue working with him."

Via AP