Putin blasts U.S. over FIFA takedown; backs soccer boss Blatter in elex – Metro US

Putin blasts U.S. over FIFA takedown; backs soccer boss Blatter in elex

Putin blasts U.S. over FIFA takedown; backs soccer boss Blatter in elex

When the U.S. Justice Department announced the stunning FIFA indictments and the breadth of a 24-year world soccer corruption scandal, that sonic boom you may have heard was Vladimir Putin’ head exploding.

Mind you, Russia’s name was not directly sullied in the 47-count indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, that named 14 defendants in a racketeering and corruption scheme.

But a second investigation announced at the same time Wednesday is seen as no coincidence.
The Swiss are looking into how the 2018 World Cup bid went to Russia and the 2022 bid to Qatar, a desert kingdom that is so hot that the World Cup competition had to be moved to the winter months.

RELATED: FIFA takedown Loretta Lynch’s gift to world soccer.

The stank now hanging over Russia has infuriated him.

“This is yet another blatant attempt [by the US] to extend its jurisdiction to other states,” Putin said Thursday. “Our American partners use their own methods for their ulterior purposes.”

He even invoked the spy scandals surrounding Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, and allegations of torture, CNN notes.

“They are illegally persecuting people. I do not rule out the possibility that the same goes for this situation with FIFA,” Putin declared

Putin has aligned his interests with those of FIFA’s Sepp Blatter, the president of world soccer’s governing body, who is up for a fifth term Friday when the FIFA Congress votes in Zurich.

“This is clearly an attempt to block the reelection of Blatter as president of FIFA and is an extremely serious breach of the principles of how international organizations work,” Putin said.

Blatter, so far, has ignored calls to step aside. He has not been officially implicated of any wrongdoing, but two of his right hand men were.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is among the biggest names saying it is time to go.

Much worse for Blatter is the muscular opposition from Michel Platini, the head of UEFA, the European football governing body.

Platini, reports the BBC, said he has asked Blatter “as a friend” to resign.

“I have had enough – enough is enough, too much is too much,” he said.

Blatter’s competition is Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan. A majority of UEFA’s member associations said Thursday they will vote for Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein as the next FIFA president, reports Al Jazeera.

If Blatter wins, UEFA will rethink ties with FIFA, Platini has indicated.

In the end, the biggest thing that may spark change is the rumbling coming from big corporate boardrooms:

Visa may pull out of its $25m a year contract with FIFA, it says.

Adidas is demanding more transparency.

Budweiser, a sponsor of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, is “closely monitoring developments,” Al Jazeera says.

Coca-Cola Co, another FIFA sponsor, says the scandal has “tarnished the mission and ideals” of the World Cup.

John A. Oswald is Metro.US editor-at-large in NYC. Follow him on the Twitters —@nyc_oz.

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