Sepp Blatter to attend World Cup despite ban
FIFA’s former disgraced president Sepp Blatter is set to attend the World Cup next year despite being banned from all football related activities for six years.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has sent an invitation for Blatter to the World Cup as a guest.
“I will go to the World Cup in Russia. I received an invitation from President Putin,” the 81-year-old said in an interview today.
Dmitri Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin confirmed the invitation, “You know that Putin and Blatter have for a long time been, you could say, friends”
“The World Cup is a great celebration of football and everyone who is invited will be welcome, and old friends will also be welcome,”
Blatter, who led the FIFA for 17 years, was thrown out of the sport in 2015 when he was found to be involved in a massive corruption scandal surrounding the governing body.
He was suspended from all football-related activities for six years after being found guilty of accepting an improper 2 million Swiss franc (1.8 million euros) payment from the then UEFA president, Michael Platini.
However, Blatter said he had no plans to miss the World Cup, an event he has attended ever since joining FIFA in 1975.
“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 from his hometown in Zürich. “Because I can’t work in football and I don’t have an assignment to do, maybe I will only make a short visit.”
About the World Cup, the Swiss said, “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,”
It is yet to be clear how the FIFA ban would impact Blatter’s ban.