Fifa has replaced Brazilian star striker, Hulk with former Russia captain, Alexey Smertin as a draw assistant for Saturday’s Preliminary Draw for the 2018 World Cup.
World football’s governing body says they have dropped the Zenit St Petersburg forward because of his club “commitment.”
Hulk, 28, has recently voiced discontent about the state of the game in the 2018 tournament’s host nation, owing to the continuous incidents of racism.
Fifa has asked the Russian Football Union to provide an explanation as to the two-game suspension it handed out to Ghana international, Emmanuel Frimpong after the player had claimed he was racially abused by Spartak Moscow fans without sanctioning the Moscow club.
Smertin, who played for Russia at the 2002 World Cup and the 2004 European Championship, joins Brazilian Ronaldo, former Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o, Uruguayan Diego Forlan, World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro, Oliver Bierhorf, Alexander Kerzhakov, Rinat Dasaev, Algerian legend Rabah Madjer and Predrag Rajkovic as draw assistant.
The qualifying series for Russia 2018 World Cup will witness 851 matches, between March 2015 and November 2017.