Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of meddling in affairs beyond its jurisdiction by arresting a number of Fifa officials on charges of bribery and racketeering.
In a televised statement, Putin described the arrests as "yet another blatant attempt [by the US] to extend its jurisdiction to other states" and a "clear attempt" to block the re-election of Sepp Blatter as Fifa president.
The vote on the Fifa presidency is due to take place tomorrow with the US and other western nations - including England - backing Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan. In contrast, Putin has reaffirmed his country's support for Blatter as the Swiss bids for a fifth term.
Swiss Police arrested a number of Fifa officials in Zurich yesterday, at the request of the US Department of Justice. Putin criticised the move, arguing:
The US use these methods for self-interested aims...they do it illegally, harass people. I don't rule out that the same is happening regarding Fifa.
Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup following a controversial vote in 2010 which has now become the subject of a Swiss investigation into alleged corruption and vote-rigging.