Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has backed an English-led bid for the 2030 World Cup as he defended his reasons for being at the tournament in Russian Federation. The term was later reduced to six years. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Asked if he would use the influence he built up during his 17-year reign as Federation Internationale de Football Association boss to support a British bid, he said: "OK, I will use my influence, if England will accept my influence". "We have no further comment at this present stage". He invited me to his apartment in the Kremlin.
"It is good to be a fan", Blatter said before posing for photographs with the laminated Fan ID card.
Russian Federation defied critics and confounded expectation by easing past Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday, all but assuring their place in the last 16 of a World Cup for the first time since the Soviet era.
The voting process for those tournaments is now tainted by suspicions of corruption.
The terms of the ban, which runs until October 2021, meant Blatter was kept separate from is successor Gianni Infantino and other football officials at Luzhniki Stadium. See no evil, hear, yadda yadda. Court documents show they were sentenced on Wednesday. "It should not be an embarrassment to Federation Internationale de Football Association".
Blatter attended Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco in Moscow, where the losing side felt that a number of decisions went against them and were then not overturned by VAR.
It was Blatter's first high-profile public appearance since that scandal in 2015, and here his old pal Putin had given him a global platform, one he didn't deserve, to try to sway public opinion.
Blatter, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, said on Thursday he had been invited to the World Cup by Russian Federation, which he said had organised his trip and provided him with tickets and a fan ID. Blatter's, though, might not be such a good idea.
Insisting he is not corrupt, Blatter talked whimsically about his warm reception in Moscow. Germany, the 2014 World Cup winners, even lost.
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