Putin: Blatter deserves a Nobel prize
Russian president Vladimir Putin believes outgoing FIFA head Sepp Blatter should be awarded a Nobel prize.
Blatter announced his intention to resign from his post as FIFA president last month, in the wake of a corruption scandal tearing through world football's governing body.
A new president will be chosen on February 26, with Blatter having faced widespread criticism of his leadership in recent years - many questioning the decisions to award the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
The awarding of those two tournaments, to be held in 2018 and 2022 respectively, are currently under investigation in a separate probe to the corruption allegations that have engulfed FIFA.
Ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in St Petersburg on Saturday, Blatter met Putin and assured him he had "complete trust" in Russia's ability to host the event.
And Putin believes Blatter, who has not been charged with wrongdoing and denies any misconduct, deserves special reward for his work.
"We all know the situation developing around Mr Blatter right now," Putin told RTS.
"I don't want to go into details but I don't believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally.
"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."