After 14 FIFA officials and executives were charged with corruption Wednesday by U.S. officials-including wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and bribery-Russian President Vladimir Putin had some words for the U.S.
But on Thursday United States diplomats insisted that relations between the two countries had played no role in the affair. “Among them there are no citizens of the Russian Federation. A few of the figures involved have already admitted guilt”.
“My interpretation is that this was a political signal to the West, a message, not to intervene militarily in what was happening in Crimea and what was happening in southeast Ukraine, since Russia considers itself to be inferior in conventional forces”, he said.
The FIFA-linked arrests on the eve of the re-election of the organizations chief are an obvious attempt to thwart Sepp Blatters re-appointment, Vladimir Putin said, answering journalists questions.
Putin’s successes in securing Russia’s bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup were seen as some of the top achievements of his administration among Russians. This is a principled decision: “sport and politics should be separate”. Because the arrests have been made on the request of the American side, on charges of corruption. We can assume that some of them broke the law, I don’t know, but they certainly don’t have any relation to the United States.
He continued: “It’s another clear attempt by the USA to spread its jurisdiction to other states”.
“Unfortunately our American partners are using these methods in order to achieve their own selfish gains, and it is illegal to persecute people“.
Asked to explain the rationale behind Putin’s move, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov had no immediate comment.
FIFA said Russia and Qatar will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.
However, UEFA leaders want to postpone the presidential election amid turmoil in world soccer after federal investigations by the United States and Swiss authorities hit FIFA on Wednesday.
Moscow, May 28: Are dark clouds building up over the next Fifa World Cup in Russia in 2018?
But war brings about the sort of casualties that can serve as proof of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, Felgenhauer pointed out.
One could say that maybe someone might be guilty of something.
Blatter is seeking a fifth, four-year term in Friday’s election. “He is the best from the names we are seeing on the list”.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer says Blatter met with representatives from soccer’s confederations “to discuss the current situation”.
But despite his criticism of Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Rathke refused to similarly denounce Qatar for working conditions there.
US-based think tank Atlantic Council released a report Wednesday detailing “irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine” that researchers gathered from open sources.
After the outbreak of the most recent corruption scandal, FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio said that Russia wouldn’t be stripped of the right to host the upcoming edition of the World Cup.