Blatter visits Moscow, gets Russia’s backing for FIFA election

FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrived in Moscow on Thursday and was met by Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who declared Russia’s support for the reelection campaign of the head of world football’s governing body.

The flying visit, which will be over by Friday afternoon, includes a presentation on Russia’s preparations to host the 2018 World Cup followed by talks with the country’s football authorities.

“We are very pleased to host the FIFA president. It is to Blatter’s great credit that Russia has the right to host the World Cup in 2018,” Mutko was quoted as saying by the R-Sport agency.

“We will support Joseph Blatter at the FIFA presidential election in June,” added the minister, who is also chairman of the Russia 2018 organizing committee. “We appreciate everything Blatter has done for world and Russian football.”

Mutko, the head of the Russian Football Union until November 2009, said Blatter had praised Russia’s preparations so far.

Since Russia was announced as the host of the 2018 tournament, work has restarted on new stadiums for Moscow clubs Dynamo and Spartak. The clubs’ plans were put on hold by the global financial crisis in late 2008 that hit Russia’s construction industry hard.

The FIFA presidential elections are scheduled for June 1 during the organization’s congress in Zurich. The longtime FIFA chief is being challenged by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the head of the Asian Football Confederation.

MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti)

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