Suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief, Michel Platini will both be invited to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Monday.
Both men were handed eight-year ban from footballing activities in December following an investigation into a £1.3 million payment from 2011, which was deemed a breach of conflict of interest regulations by FIFA’s ethics committee.
The bans came over a spate of corruption scandals on their watch that, among other things, raised questions about Russia’s right to host the tournament.
However, Russian minister Vitaly Mutko says they will be welcome to attend the sport’s biggest event in two years’ time.
“Formally, the suspension prohibits them from any position in football,” Mutko told R-Sport.
“But on the other hand, how is it that an outstanding player like Michel Platini can’t go to the football? We will invite them, I see no problems with the events we are hosting.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Blatter ‘a very respected person’ who had done much for the development of global soccer, fostered it as a form of cooperation between countries and peoples and therefore should get the Nobel Peace Prize.