Putin Says FIFA's Blatter Should Win Nobel Peace Prizeby and
Soccer chief has made `colossal' contribution, Putin says
Corruption inquiries at FIFA showed no results so far, he says
Russian President Vladimir Putin heaped praise on FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who’s under investigation in a corruption probe, saying he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work promoting soccer.
Blatter “is a very respected person” who’s “done a great deal for the development of world soccer,” and made a “colossal” humanitarian contribution, Putin said Thursday at his annual news conference in Moscow.
“He tried to use soccer not just as a sport but as an element of cooperation between nations and peoples,” Putin said. “He’s someone who should get the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Blatter and Michel Platini, head of the European soccer federation UEFA, were suspended by FIFA for 90 days in October as the Swiss attorney general investigates a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment Blatter made to Platini. Both have said they are innocent of any wrongdoing. The Swiss prosecutor has 133 suspicious activity reports from its anti-money laundering office that are related to the controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar by soccer officials.
A corruption probe into FIFA by the U.S. Department of Justice deepened Dec. 3 with the Zurich arrest of two more South American soccer representatives, bringing the total number of officials and executives indicted to more than 30.
Corruption allegations against FIFA should be investigated, though so far they’ve produced no results, Putin said. He accused the U.S. in May of using the probe to try to block Blatter’s re-election as FIFA president for a fifth term, saying that the soccer chief had resisted pressure to strip Russia of the right to hold the World Cup.