Fifa boss Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize, says Russian President Vladimir Putin
Sepp Blatter might not be welcome at the FA's headquarters anytime soon, but it seems he can always rely on a friendly face at the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Swiss TV the Fifa boss, whose organisation is currently engulfed in corruption allegations, deserves a Nobel Prize.
It's almost certainly just a coincidence that the World Cup will be played in Russia in 2018.
"People like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition," said Putin. "If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it's those people."
"We all know the situation developing around Mr Blatter right now," he added. "I don't want to go into details but I don't believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally."
The 79-year-old football boss announced he would step down last month, following the arrest of seven Fifa officials as part of an investigation that has resulted in 14 people being indicted on corruption charges.
But he has said he has a "clear conscience", and is planning to remain in office until Fifa holds an extraordinary congress to elect his successor next February.
A separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated is also under way.