Blatter, Platini to be special guests at 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Former FIFA President Joseph Blatter and ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini will be Speacial Guests at the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018, which will take place in Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told newsmen on Friday: “of course, you know that the FIFA World Cup is a great feast of football and all guests will be welcomed here as well as the old friends.

“You know that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has long-standing and even friendly relations with Blatter and he is very well-acquainted with Platini, which is why, they will be welcomed in Moscow.”

He also said that U.S. state structures and NGOs are trying to influence the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to prevent Russia from taking part in the Olympic Games.

“The president did not hint. The president openly said we have relevant information that testifies to that,” Peskov told reporters, when asked about the speech by Putin, in which the latter, according to a reporter, ‘hinted’ that certain U.S. organisations were trying to influence the IOC to ban Russia from Olympics.

“State [organidations], including by means of public, nongovernmental organizations,” he said in response to a relevant question without elaborating.

On June 2, 2015, six days after the U.S. government indicted several current and former FIFA officials and sports marketing companies for bribery and money laundering, security agents moved and arrested some of them.

Blatter announced that he would call for elections to choose a new president of FIFA and that he would not stand in these elections, but he also said he would remain in his position until an extraordinary FIFA congress could be held for his successor to be elected.

Criminal proceedings were announced against Blatter by the Swiss Attorney General’s office on September 25, 2015, regarding “criminal mismanagement… and misappropriation”.

In October 2015, Blatter and other top FIFA officials were suspended amid the investigation, and in December the independent FIFA Ethics Committee ejected Blatter from office and banned him from taking part in any FIFA activities over the following eight years.

On February 24, 2016, a FIFA appeals committee upheld the suspension but reduced it from eight years to six.

Issa Hayatu served as the acting President of FIFA until an extraordinary FIFA Congress was held in late February, electing Gianni Infantino as the ninth president of FIFA.

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