Putin defends Blatter and attacks FIFA arrests as ‘persecution’

Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin in Sochi April 2015FIFA arrests: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Wednesday’s swoop on top FIFA officials in Zurich by the FBI as a “crude breach in the principles in the functioning of international organisations.”
“I don’t doubt a bit that this is a clear attempt to not allow the reelection of Mr. Blatter to the post of FIFA president, and this is a crude breach in the principles in the functioning of international organisations. Unfortunately, our American partners are using such methods to reach their own selfish goals and are doing it illegally, persecuting people,” he told journalists in Moscow.
“We know the pressure that was put on him to prevent the 2018 World Cup taking place in Russia,” he added, likening the events to the hounding of whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
In a meeting with Putin in Sochi earlier last month, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter had slammed Russia’s critics. “I see that more and more people around the world are taking an interest in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. If politicians are not too happy that we are taking the world cup to Russia, I always say to them, ‘Well, you can stay home, and in Russia we will hold the biggest world cup ever yet’,” Blatter said at the time.