Mutko steps down as president of Russian Football Union

Vitaly Mutko, a Russian government official who has been dogged by allegations of involvement in doping, has temporarily stepped down as president of the Russian Football Union.

It's a move apparently intended to deflect international criticism as Russia prepares to host the 2018 World Cup.

Russian news agencies reported Monday that Mutko suspended his activities as president for half-a-year, and Alexander Alayev has been named to succeed him. Mutko retains the job of deputy prime minister overseeing sports.

Investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee alleged that Mutko was involved in a sophisticated state-sponsored doping program during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mutko, who served as Russia's sports minister during the Games, has strongly denied all doping allegations.