Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel prize for his work with FIFA, according to Russia president Vladimir Putin.
Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 but FIFA, football's governing body, is currently embroiled in a corruption crisis which includes an investigation into awarding the tournament to the country.
However, following a meeting between Blatter and Putin in St Petersburg on Saturday, the Russian President backed the Swiss for special recognition.
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"We all know the situation developing around Mr Blatter right now. I don't want to go into details but I don't believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally," Putin told Swiss broadcaster RTS.
"I think people like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition. If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel prize, it's those people."
Blatter announced he was standing down from the role of FIFA president after 17 years in the role just days after his re-election for a fifth term in June.
It followed the arrest of seven FIFA officials as part of a United States investigation on corruption charges, with separate criminal investigations being carried out by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded.
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