Putin, Infantino swap praise ahead of World Cup R
USSIAN President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino have praised each other’s work preparing for the World Cup. Putin had a warm relationship with Sepp Blatter, who led FIFA when Russia was awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010. Blatter was ousted and banned in fallout of corruption scandals.
Putin says Infantino “stood at the helm of FIFA in very complicated times but he is very good as our frontman, as a true fighter.”
The FIFA president has “always positive sentiment toward our country,” Putin says.
With hundreds of thousands of fans expected to travel to the World Cup, Putin says visitors should “feel the hospitality and welcoming nature” of Russia.
Infantino praises Putin for “making us feel part of the same team” and thanks him “from our hearts.”
FIFA’s head of finance says he “anticipates strong revenues” leading to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Thomas Peyer tells member federations that income from broadcasting rights will add up to 53 percent of FIFA’s budgeted income of $6.56 billion over the next four years. Around 70 percent is already contracted.
The extra income lets FIFA promise $1.5 million annual grants to each of its 211 member federations. That’s a 20 percent increase.
FIFA’s budget, which is typically conservative and eventually exceeded, calls for a $100 million overall profit through 2022. That should help lift FIFA’s cash reserves close to $2 billion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, attends the FIFA congress with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, left, on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday.