Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Banned Blatter arrives in Russian Federation for World Cup

Fisht Stadium Over 1 mln people attend World Cup fan festival in Russia - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Isaac Mcdaniel | 20 June, 2018, 20:19

Disgraced former Federation Internationale de Football Association chief Sepp Blatter will defy a ban to attend two World Cup matches and also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, his spokesman said on Monday.

Blatter arrived in central Moscow by vehicle, walking into a hotel lobby where he spoke briefly to reporters before he was surrounded by fans.

The one-time globe-trotting football leader, with a famed capacity to defy jet lag, has rarely flown in recent years since American and Swiss investigators unsealed sweeping investigations in May 2015 of corruption and bribery linked to worldwide soccer and marketing officials, including some FIFA vice-presidents. Despite being banned during the European Championships two years ago, Michel Platini was allowed attend the tournament.

The 82-year-old Blatter is banned from official football duty until October 2021 for financial misconduct during this 17-year rule.

He was also scheduled to attend Brazil's Group E match against Costa Rica in St Petersburg on Friday before returning to Switzerland.

"I think that England deserved to organise the World Cup. The former Federation Internationale de Football Association president has an open invite from Vladimir Putin to attend the tournament", BBC Sport correspondent Richard Conway posted on Twitter.

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Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday he did not know whether any meeting had been planned.

Speaking in an interview with Russian news channel RT, Blatter said he had advocated for Russia to be chosen as the World Cup host in 2010.

Russian Federation is holding its first ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on June 14.

The Swiss was in charge of football's global governing body at the time Russian Federation was awarded the tournament before his reign ended amid a corruption scandal involving FIFA. Using allegations from that case, FIFA's ethics committee opened its own inquiry and banned him for eight years.

Swiss Blatter, who was suspended in 2015, also said he felt "abandoned" by Federation Internationale de Football Association and that he should have stepped aside earlier.

"This is what I introduced in 2011", Blatter said.

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