December 17, 2015 / 11:45 AM / 2 years ago

Putin says FIFA's Blatter "a respected person", deserves Nobel prize

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter was “a very respected person”, adding that it was up to investigators to establish whether there actually were cases of corruption in the world soccer body.

“Whether there are signs of corruption in FIFA, the investigation must show. As for Joseph Blatter, he is a very respected person, he has done a lot for the development of world soccer... That’s the one to be awarded Nobel Peace Prize,” Putin said.

Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin also said Russia had won its right to host the World Cup fairly and that it was open for joint work on tackling doping following accusations of widespread doping among Russian athletes.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, Alexander Winning, and Christian Lowe; writing by Maria Kiselyova; editing by Dmitry Solovyov

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