It should come as no surprise, in light of the rampant corruption and bribery associated with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees nothing wrong with FIFA's selection process.
And why would he? His cronies were the ones that benefited from billions of dollars of over-inflated contracts to construct the facilities for the Sochi games.
On Thursday at an advisory council of the Moscow State University at the Kremlin, Putin thought it was "odd" that the probe was launched at the request of U.S. officials.
He went on to accuse the United States of meddling in FIFA’s business and alluded to the entire probe being part of an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from Russia.
Corruption charges in the United States were announced on Wednesday, with 14 people being charged. Two of them holding American citizenship. The probe was conducted with the help of Swiss authorities who arrested seven of the 14 in Zurich, ahead of Friday's FIFA meeting and presidential election. Sepp Blatter, the un-indicted president is expected to win a fifth term despite the scandal occurring under his watch.
In addition to the U.S probe, Swiss prosecutors began criminal proceedings into FIFA’s selection of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
Commenting on the probes, Putin stated that if “someone has done something wrong,” Russia “has nothing to do with it.” This all despite the fact that ample evidence shows the Sochi Olympics amounted to a transfer of Russian state wealth to his cronies.
“Our American counterparts, unfortunately, are using the same methods to reach their goals and illegally persecute people. I don’t rule out that this is the case in relation to FIFA,” Putin said. “I have no doubt that this is yet another evident attempt to derail Mr. Blatter’s re-election as FIFA president. We are aware of the pressure that he was subjected to in relation to Russia holding the 2018 World Cup.”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko is a FIFA executive committee member, illustrating the country's deep connection to the troubled organization.