Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States on Thursday, accusing it of meddling in global soccer amid an unprecedented corruption scandal.
In televised comments, Putin called the U.S. involvement in the FIFA investigation “strange” and said the country was overstepping its power amid growing concerns, especially that of Russia’s, that the scandal could affect that country’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.
Corruption charges were announced Wednesday in the U.S. against 14 FIFA officials and sports executives. Seven were arrested in Switzerland. The allegations include racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery, and relate to at least two generations of soccer officials who are accused of acquiring millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
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