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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fetisov Accepts Sports Tsar Job

Hockey supremo Vyacheslav Fetisov, who coached Russia to a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics, has agreed to become the nation's sports chief, officials said Friday.

Gennady Shvets, a spokesman for the Russian Olympic Committee, said that Fetisov had given his consent to be appointed head of the State Sports Committee, the top government agency overseeing sports.

A government decision to appoint Fetisov is expected soon.

Fetisov, 43, former assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils, would replace Pavel Rozhkov.

Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko also confirmed Friday that Fetisov might become one of the nation's top officials, but added that the decision to appoint him had not been made yet, Itar-Tass reported.

Matviyenko said Friday that the two agencies' functions must be defined more clearly, with the Russian Olympic Committee being in charge of professional sports and the sports committee overseeing mass sports, Itar-Tass said.

Fetisov, who goes by the nickname Slava, helped the Soviet Union win two Olympic titles and six world championships. He was considered by many to be the best defenseman in the world in the 1980s.

He joined the Devils in 1989 after barriers to professional hockey fell in the Soviet Union, and helped the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998. Fetisov and Vladislav Tretiak are the only Russians in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Fetisov has recently had several meetings with President Vladimir Putin. As chief of the sports committee, he would oversee Putin's drive to encourage mass sports and physical activity.

Putin called a Kremlin meeting in February to draw up a program of bolstering state support for sports. The comparatively poor performance of the national team in Salt Lake City made the task even more pressing.