Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter to Attend World Cup in Russia

Nihal Kolur
Sports Illustrated

Banned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter will accept his invitation from Russian president Vladimir Putin to attend the World Cup, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

Blatter, 82, served as FIFA's president for 17 years, but was suspended for eight years in 2015 for the biggest corruption scandal in FIFA's history.

Although Blatter himself denies any misconduct, several FIFA officials were indicted by U.S. and Swiss authorities for ethics violations.

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Gianni Infantino, Blatter's successor, has sought to clean up the organization and has yet to comment about the former president's plans.

Blatter's spokesman did not reveal which game he would attend, but did say that Blatter would not be in Russia for the inaugural match or opening ceremony.

Putin and Blatter have long had a strong relationship. In 2015, Putin backed Blatter's innocence in the corruption scandal and said the former president deserved a Nobel Prize for his leadership of FIFA.

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