Blatter believed to have been offered job as Russia world cup ambassador by Putin but FBI probe heating up

Blatter believed to have been offered job as Russia world cup ambassador by Putin but FBI probe heating up
by Martin Jay

3 June 2015 | 12:03

Source: by Martin Jay

  • by Martin Jay
  • Source: Martin Jay
  • Last update: 3 June 2015 | 12:03

Despite being hounded by the FBI for a near historical corruption scandal, FIFA's outgoing president has still got a few friends in high places. In fact, one could speculate that his exit itself might even be deemed as graft, if, as many insiders believe, he is heading straight to Russia to take up a job offered by Russia's charismatic president Vladimir Putin as ambassador for Russia's 2018 bid for the World Cup.

Technically, Russia has already secured the 2018 World Cup bid but in the light of the colossal corruption scandal, some disgruntled bidders for it have said there needs to be a new bid altogether.

A long term ally and one who took a close personal interest in Russia's bid for the 2008 World Cup, Vladimir Putin was highly supportive of Blatter in spite of last week's scandal.

Putin branded the FBI investigation into Fifa was an "illegal exterritorial use of US law" and was only being done in "order to achieve their own selfish gains".

But in the meantime, Andrew Jennings, the journalist who helped the FBI with their investigation into Fifa corruption, let out an ominous warning after the arrests last week and said more evidence is being handed to investigators – casting a could over Blatter's ability to even take up such a post.

Indeed, some are arguing that his close relationship with Putin will backfire as more evidence is unearthed this week and more international football chiefs are breaking their silence about his infamous legacy over FIFA since 1988.
"Clearly there is a smoking gun of some sort. This is nothing to do with Mr Blatter being honourable. He hasn't been honourable for years", one said in an interview

But if an investigation stalls him taking up a top post with Moscow – or simply casts a shadow over the Kremlin's bid – then England are the favourites to host the 2018 World Cup.

There is no suggestion by Fifa officially that the World Cups will switch hands with Fifa's director of communications Walter de Gregorio stating after the arrest of top officials in Switzerland last week that "the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 will be played in Russia and Qatar".

Yet the Chairman of the English FA, Greg Dyke, has said the current hosts should be worried.
Simon Johnson, leader of England's failed bid to stage the 2018 World Cup, said: "There will continue to be these questions over the bidding process. Let's see if the new leadership or interim leadership do anything to resolve that.

A question many of the members of FIFA as well as the guardians of the bidding process will be asking is whether Blatter has been offered a straight forward job with Putin or whether there is a cash reward as a bonus for keeping the 2018 bid, given all the media hype around the graft scandal

 

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