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Russia to invite Blatter and Platini to World Cup 2018

Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini will be invited to the World Cup final in Russia, the country's sports minister has said.

Both men were handed eight-year bans from footballing activities in December following a £1.3million payment made from Blatter to Platini in 2011, which was deemed a breach of conflict of interest regulations by FIFA's ethics committee.

Blatter and Platini are appealing the sanctions and, according to Vitaly Mutko, would be at perfect liberty to attend the World Cup 2018 

"Formally, the suspension prohibits them from any position in football," he 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 spoken highly of Blatter in the past, suggesting he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work within football.