John Bolton to Visit Moscow to Talk About Possible Trump-Putin Meeting

In 2015, he was banned from "all football activities" for eight years, later reduced to six on appeal, over ethics breaches when he was found to have made a £1.3m "disloyal payment" to ex-Uefa boss Michel Platini. Federation Internationale de Football Association said via the tournament's official Twitter account. "To meet President Putin is not in any way contradicting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation policy", he told reporters.

The voting process for those tournaments is now tainted by suspicions of corruption.

Blatter, who attended a game between Portugal and Morocco on Wednesday, said he would attend a match between Brazil and Costa Rica later this week before flying out of St. Petersburg at the end of the week. "I am a personal guest here today", he said.

The Swiss denied his presence at the World Cup would embarrass his successor, Gianni Infantino. See no evil, hear, yadda yadda.

The videos are among a string of incidents in which some Latin American fans are encouraging foreign women to say offensive things in languages they don't appear to understand. Court documents show they were sentenced on Wednesday.

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.

The 82-year-old said he and Putin exchanged "small talk" and the president reminded him of the telephone conversation they had on 2 December, 2010, when Russian Federation won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating, among others, a bid from England.

"There will be a lot of contenders (for 2030) but they will deserve it, and Scotland, Wales and the Irish - why not? - should be in, too, because that would be a better candidate for a 48-team World Cup".

Insisting he is not corrupt, Blatter talked whimsically about his warm reception in Moscow. "And he has said 'OK, nothing.' So I don't think they are bothered", he said.

"It is his World Cup now", said Blatter.

Then we can get back to the games - until Putin pipes up to pat himself on the back again.