Russia 2018: Putin applauds FIFA for keeping politics out of sport

Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Wednesday thanked Gianni Infantino, FIFA president and the football community, for keeping politics out of the sport.

Putin also applauded the organisers of the event for the joint effort “as one big team” towards staging the 32-team event in 11 Russian cities until July 15.

He said, “I wanted to underline FIFA’s commitment to the principle of sports without politics,” Putin said during a FIFA Congress in Moscow while standing next to the World Cup trophy.

“Our country is prepared to host the World Cup. All should feel the hospitality and the welcoming nature of our nation, with its unique culture and nature,’’ Putin said.

“Together we have done everything in our power to make the tournament a top-notch event, be it for a player, a fan, or a fan in front of the TV,” he said.

Putin called Infantino a, “fighter” in difficult times for FIFA and praised his commitment in fighting politics in football and corruption as well.

The FIFA president, who had first walked off in the wrong direction to welcome Putin, who then appeared on the other end, returned the compliments.

“From the bottom of our hearts a big, big, big thank you to you Mr Putin for making us really feel part of the same team,” Infantino said.

During the congress, Infantino said he expects a great tournament from a great host, appreciating all sides involved in Russia “to celebrate the most beautiful event the world has ever seen”.

“Russia has this myth of never having been conquered. As of tomorrow Russia will be conquered by football. From Luzhniki Stadium football will conquer the world,” Infantino said.

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