The saying “birds of a feather flock together” seems very appropriate for this post.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to host disgraced ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter for two games during the World Cup. Blatter will be in attendance with Putin for Morocco’s game against Portugal on Wednesday and Brazil’s game against Costa Rica on Friday.
Blatter, 82, is currently serving a six-year suspension from FIFA because of unethical conduct charges. The suspension came after he announced he would not be running for another term as FIFA president in 2015. His announcement was days after numerous FIFA officials were indicted by United States authorities on corruption charges. The picture of Blatter and Putin below was taken just two months before Switzerland officials announced criminal proceedings against Blatter.
That ban would ostensibly extend to being present for FIFA-sanctioned games – especially World Cup games – but Blatter apparently doesn’t think so. Or care. When you’re being investigated by Swiss authorities for corruption during your FIFA reign you probably don’t really care if you’re violating the terms of your suspension or not.
That corruption could have extended to the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. It’s naive to think there weren’t any backroom dealings that helped lead to Russia getting the World Cup, especially in the wake of how the World Cup was awarded to Qatar for 2022. Besides, we all understand that Vladimir Putin will do what he needs to do to get what he wants, right?
Perhaps Blatter’s invitation is a thank you of sorts from Putin. And we’ll see if FIFA issues a rebuke of Blatter’s presence at the games. Given that he’s a guest of the president whose country is hosting the World Cup, FIFA may have to tread fairly lightly.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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