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Putin: People Like FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter ‘Deserve the Nobel Prize’

Russian President Vladimir Putin casually offered disgraced FIFA President Sepp Blatter as a candidate for the Nobel Prize, in public talks, saying that “if there is anyone who deserves” the honor, Blatter and sports officials like him do.

Blatter traveled to Sr. Petersburg to tell Putin that FIFA stood behind Russia’s 2018 World Cup bid.

“We all know the situation developing around Mr. Blatter right now,” said Putin. “I don’t want to go into details, but I don’t believe a word about him being involved [sic] in corruption personally. I think people like Mr. Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition. If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people.”

An FBI investigation in May resulted in Swiss police arresting several FIFA officials, including a vice president. These men allegedly took bribes up to $100 million. At first, it had appeared President Sepp Blatter escaped accusations, but he resigned a day after he won a fifth term. ABC News claimed the FBI is also investigating the long-term president.

“FIFA needs profound restructuring,” he said at the time. “Although members have given me the new mandate, this mandate does not seem to be supported by everyone. We will hold an extraordinary conference as soon as possible. A new president will be elected.”

FIFA’s awarding of the 2018 World Cup and Qatar with the 2022 World Cup. In June 2014, The Sunday Times claimed they possessed more documents that show how Mohomed bin Hammam, a Qatari who sat on the FIFA executive committee, used Qatar’s wealth to buy votes for its World Cup bid. The evidence was so damning that World Cup sponsors Adidas and Sony spoke out. There is evidence against bin Hammam, alleging he “pulled strings at the top of government and with the country’s royal family to arrange meetings and favours [sic] for key voters in the months leading up to the World Cup ballot.” The Qatar 2022 committee tried to disassociate itself from bin Hammam, but The Sunday Times said the documents will also prove he did not work alone and the committee is not innocent.

The documents also show that Russia and Qatar worked together a month before they won their bids:

Emails show that Russia invited Bin Hammam to a summit to discuss “bilateral relations” in sport between their two countries on October 30, 2010, a month before the vote on the bids. Two days later, Qatar’s ruling emir also flew to Moscow for talks about joint gas production deals between the two countries.

The leaked correspondence shows that Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Exco member and 2018 bid chairman, hailed Bin Hammam’s meeting with Putin as “a chance to further promote bilateral relations between our nations in the areas of sport”.

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