Vladimir Putin and Sepp Blatter have been doing some serious celebratory back-slapping over the past few days.
Speaking to Swiss TV, Putin revealed his admiration for Blatter and said the 79-year-old deserves a Nobel Prize for his work as FIFA president.
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Blatter has been in charge at FIFA for 17 years but has decided to step down after winning the most recent presidential election in May following the devastating corruption scandal which has rocked world soccer’s governing body.
Despite those allegations of widespread corruption during Blatter’s time in charge of FIFA — nine FIFA officials have been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Swiss authorities are also investigating corruption during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar — Putin believes the long-time official deserves one of the highest honors around.
“People like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition,” Putin said. “If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people.”
This kind words come after Blatter and FIFA held the qualifying draw for the 2018 World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia last weekend.
While in Russia, his first trip outside of Switzerland since the U.S. and Swiss officials launched dawn raids in Zurich to round up and extradite FIFA officials suspected of corruption, Blatter reserved special praise for Putin: “Thank you, President Putin, you make us happy and comfortable,” said Blatter.
Is anyone else getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from these exchanges between Blatter and Putin?