FIFA

Ex FIFA President Sepp Blatter creates new controversy with his stance

Sepp-Blatter

Internet Desk: Former disgraced FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced that he will not respect the World Football Governing Body’s ban to watch the World Cup next year in Russia. In an interview the former FIFA boss has said he will honour the invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I will go to the World Cup in Russia. I received an invitation from President Putin," the 81-year-old Swiss said in an interview.

Former UEFA President Michel Platini has also been invited for the tournament which will take place in Russia next summer.

Blatter, who led world football's governing body for 17 years, was thrown out of the sport in 2015 at the height of a massive corruption scandal. The 81 year old administrator is presently serving a suspension handed over to him by FIFA’s ethics committee. He has been suspended from all football-related activities for six years after finding him guilty of accepting an improper 2 million Swiss franc ($2.1 million, 1.8 million euros) payment from then-UEFA chief Platini.

But the ever-defiant Blatter said he had no plans to miss the World Cup.

"I don't know how long I will go for, whether I will be there for the opening match or the final," he said during the interview in Zurich.

"Because I can't work in football and I don't have an assignment to do, maybe I will only make a short visit."

Blatter is also the target of an investigation by Swiss prosecutors over alleged criminal mismanagement at FIFA and the infamous Platini payment. Switzerland has ongoing probes into the 2018 World Cup, including possible bribery and corruption that may have led to Russia winning hosting rights.

"I'm sure that World Cup 2018 will be a great World Cup. Russia has to show that it can welcome the whole world. It's a big challenge," Blatter said.

It was not immediately clear how the FIFA ban would impact Blatter's attendance at matches or events.

Platini, banned from football for four years, was allowed to attend Euro 2016 matches in his native France, provided he played no official role.

 

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