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Russia glad to welcome Blatter, Platini as World Cup guests

October 20, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at the plenary session of the an annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia “would be glad” to see banned former soccer leaders Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in Russia next year at the World Cup.

Though banned from soccer duty for six and four years, respectively, Blatter and Platini were the presidents of FIFA and UEFA when Russia won the 2018 hosting contest seven years ago.

FIFA ethics rules allow Blatter and Platini to attend games but not engage in official soccer business.

Blatter publicly accepted Putin’s World Cup invitation in March 2016, before his ban for financial wrongdoing with Platini was upheld on appeal.

Peskov says Friday, “Putin has a long and, you may say, friendly relationship with Blatter. He knows Platini well, too.”

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