Russia, Vladimir Putin criticize US government for “illegal persecution” of FIFA

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is not happy about the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice and accused them of meddling in FIFA affairs as Putin believes the U.S. is hell-bent on taking away the 2018 World Cup from his country.

[ FULL COVERAGE: FIFA scandal ]

Putin, 62, went on Russian television on Thursday and shared his surprise that the U.S. would launch an investigation into FIFA which did not involved U.S. officials and for crimes which did not occur in the USA.

On Wednesday a dramatic day unfolded in Zurich, Switzerland as the FBI indicted 14 people for their alleged involvement in long-term corruption. Seven were arrested in Zurich during morning raids and two hold U.S. citizenship, including the president of CONCACAF Jeffrey Webb.

On top of the U.S. Department of Justice’s probe, the Swiss authorities also announced a completely separate investigation into the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Here is what Putin had to say about America’s stance with FIFA:

“Our American counterparts, unfortunately, are using the same methods to reach their goals and illegally persecute people. I don’t rule out that this is the case in relation to FIFA,” Putin said. “I have no doubt that this is yet another evident attempt to derail Mr. Blatter’s re-election as FIFA president. We are aware of the pressure that he was subjected to in relation to Russia holding the 2018 World Cup.”

So, what do you guys think about that?

Quite why Putin would find it “odd” that the U.S. Department of Justice seeks to prosecute persons who they believed used U.S. bank account to wire cash illegally and are citizens of the U.S. is mind-boggling. The FBI are well within their rights to hunt down those they believe perpetrated crimes on U.S. soil and with bank accounts and businesses from the USA.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, is on FIFA’s executive committee and he said he welcomes the FBI investigation into alleged corruption dating back 24 years.

Another note: when American lawyer Michael Garcia filed his report to the FIFA Ethics Committee into the World Cup bidding process for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, along the way it was reported that thousands of emails and other info had gone missing from Russia’s bid team after being destroyed.

Just throwing that out there…