ST PETERSBURG: Sepp Blatter is expected by his Russian hosts to take his first step outside of Switzerland since the latest FIFA corruption scandal exploded when he attends the 2018 World Cup draw in St Petersburg next month.
Blatter, who announced his impending resignation as world federation president only four days after being re-elected last month, did not attend the World U-20 Youth Cup in New Zealand and is not expected at the final of the ongoing Women’s World Cup in Canada.
However Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko – who is also a member of the FIFA executive committee – has said he has no doubt that the 79-year-old Swiss will be at the draw on July 25.
Mutko said: “Of course, Mr Blatter will attend the draw. The whole of the FIFA executive committee will be there as well as all 209 national federations. Preparations are going as planned.”
Anatoly Vorobyov, general secretary of the Russian football union, also expects Blatter’s presenc. He said: “As a person who knows a few things about Mr Blatter, I am in no doubt that he will attend the draw.
“He has come to Russia 23 years in a row to attend the Commonwealth Cup. However, now there is a very important event in the sporting and social-political calendar. Of course the president of FIFA should attend these events. I am sure that, if nothing unexpected happens, he will visit St Petersburg.”
The Commonwealth Cup was created in 1993 as a tournament for the champions of the former Soviet Union republics.