MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS, Rustam Sharafutdinov, Yevgeny Ionov/. The appointment of Pavel Kolobkov to the post of the Russian sports minister was an "excellent choice" as the new official is very familiar with the Olympic family and can do a lot for ice hockey, Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), told TASS on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees on Wednesday appointing former Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko to the post of a deputy prime minister and also appointing Pavel Kolobkov as the country’s new sports minister.
"I know Pavel since many years," Fasel said in an interview with TASS. "I met him couple of times. He is an Olympic champion, he is a very nice person and he is speaking English."
"I think it is a very good choice to have him as the sports minister of the Russian Federation," he said. "I think he was participating in five Olympic Games, so he actually knows the Olympic family and he is very well respected. For me it is an excellent choice."
Former sports minister Mutko is now one of nine deputy prime ministers and he was particularly charged to oversee the issues regarding sports, tourism and youth policies in Russia.
IIHF President Fasel said the new appointment of Mutko was also a good move, which would help Russia in the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"That is also an excellent choice to put Vitaly (Mutko) as a vice premier and giving him this position especially going forward into the FIFA World Cup in 2018," Fasel said. "It will give more power to him and to Russia also in FIFA World Cup."
Asked whether he was surprised with the reshuffles in the Russian sports administration, Fasel said he was not adding that Russian President was known for appointing the right people.
"Your president has a very good feeling to put the right people in the right position," Fasel said.
Predicting perspectives for the Russian ice hockey with the new sports minister of Russia after Mutko assumed another post, Fasel said "Vitaly Mutko is 100-percent football guy so I always complained about this."
"He was never in ice hockey," the IIHF president said. "Now having an Olympian who understands the sport and as the sports minister he is a very good move."
"I do no doubt one second that Pavel will also be in a very good relation with the Russian ice hockey and the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League)," Fasel said. "For me this sport is 100-percent Number One sport in Russia.".