Putin accuses US of meddling into FIFA affairs

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of meddling in FIFAand’s affairs and hinted that it was part of an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.
Putin said in televised comments Thursday that he found it andquotoddandquot that the probe was launched at the request of US officials for crimes which do not involve its citizens and did not happen in the United States.
Corruption charges in the US were announced Wednesday against 14 people, with at least two of them holding American citizenship. Seven of the 14 were arrested Wednesday morning in Zurich ahead of a FIFA meeting and Fridayand’s presidential election in which Sepp Blatter is expected to win a fifth term.
In a separate probe, Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFAand’s awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
Putin said even if andquotsomeone has done something wrong,andquot Russia andquothas nothing to do with it.andquot He then tried to portray the probe as a US attempt to go after dissenters, likening the case to the persecution of whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
andquotOur American counterparts, unfortunately, are using the same methods to reach their goals and illegally persecute people. I donand’t rule out that this is the case in relation to FIFA,andquot Putin said. andquotI have no doubt that this is yet another evident attempt to derail Mr. Blatterand’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.andquot

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman