ZURICH: Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter intends to take up an invitation from President Vladimir Putin to attend the World Cup finals in Russia next summer writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter was president of the world football federation in 2010 when Russia and Qatar were awarded host rights to the 2018 and 2022 finals respectively.
In 2015 Blatter – on his only trip outside Switzerland since the FIFAGate scandal erupted that year – attended the draw in Saint Petersburg for the qualifying rounds of the World Cup. Months later he was suspended and subsquently banned for six years for authorising a “disloyal payment” of $2m to then UEFA president Michel Platini.
The latter, then also a vice-president of FIFA, was also subsequently banned.
Blatter has now talked on his intention of attending the World Cup.
He said: “I will go to the World Cup in Russia, I have received an invitation from President Putin. I do not know for how long I will go or whether I’ll be there for the Opening Match or Final.
“Since I cannot work in football now and do not have a mission to accomplish, I will perhaps make only one visit.”
FIFA had no comment to make “since Sepp Blatter no longer has an official function.”
Blatter also said that Platini had received an invitation from Putin.
Last year Platini has been invited to attend the European Championship finals as a “private individual” in his French homeland but declined.
Sepp Blatter, 81, also told Swiss media that he is in the final stages of preparing a “salty” book about his four decades at FIFA as general secretary then president.
Publication is planned for next spring, before the World Cup finals.