Putin: US meddling in FIFA affairs

Putin: US meddling in FIFA affairs

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the United States is meddling in Fifa’s affairs in an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.

Mr Putin said in televised comments that it is “odd” that the probe was launched at the request of US officials for crimes which do not involve its citizens and did not happen in the United States.

In a separate probe, Swiss prosecutors are investigating the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

Mr Putin described Wednesday’s pre-dawn arrests of seven soccer officials in Zurich as “yet another evident attempt to derail Mr Blatter’s re-election as Fifa president”.

He said he is aware of “the pressure” on Mr Blatter for his support of Russia hosting the World Cup.

Putin: US meddling in FIFA affairs

Meanewhile Blatter has skipped another speaking engagement as he avoids appearing in public for a second day.

Mr Blatter missed giving a scheduled speech to open Thursday’s session of Fifa’s medical conference in a Zurich hotel.

Fifa chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak says Mr Blatter has to “manage the situation,” after the governing body was rocked on Wednesday by an American federal racketeering case.

Mr Blatter has stayed out of public view by avoiding three scheduled speech-making duties within 24 hours.

Two Fifa vice presidents were among seven men arrested in a Zurich hotel.

Fifa’s headquarters in Zurich was also raided by Swiss federal agencies for a separate probe of the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests.

Mr Blatter is scheduled to address Fifa’s 209 member federations at 4pm BST.

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