Vladimir Putin says Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel prize

Written By Harry West
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Vladimir Putin believes outgoing FIFA chief Sepp Blatter should be awarded a Nobel prize.

The Russian president said he thinks Blatter, who has not been charged with wrongdoing and denies any misconduct, deserves special reward for his work.

MORE: Nine potential replacements for Blatter | International soccer rivalries | Making it rain

"We all know the situation developing around Mr. Blatter right now," Putin told Swiss broadcaster RTS (French). "I don't want to go into details but I don't believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally.

"I think people like Mr. Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition.

"If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel prize, it's those people."

MORE: Putin says U.S. is meddling in FIFA's affairs

Blatter announced his intention to resign as FIFA president last month in the wake of a corruption scandal tearing through soccer's world governing body.

A new president will be elected Feb. 26, with Blatter having faced widespread criticism of his leadership in recent years — many questioning the decisions to award the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The awarding of those two tournaments, to be played in 2018 and 2022, respectively, is under investigation in a probe separate from the corruption allegations that have engulfed FIFA.

Ahead of Saturday's 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in St Petersburg, Russia, Blatter met Putin and assured him he had "complete trust" in Russia's ability to host the event.

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