Blatter pledges Fifa support for Russian World Cup despite boycott threats
Sepp Blatter is unmoved by talk surrounding a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and has pledged Fifa's "unconditional" support.
Reports emerged last month that European nations were in talks over a potential boycott of the event due to president Vladimir Putin's involvement in the ongoing crisis surrounding eastern Ukraine.
While several politicians from Britain, Germany and the United States have asked Fifa to revoke Russia's privilege to host the World Cup, their words have fallen on deaf ears with the president of football's world governing body.
Speaking to the R-Sport news agency, Blatter said: "A boycott will never give any positive effect. We trust the country, its government.
"Fifa unconditionally supports the staging of the World Cup by Russia.
"When we receive letters from North America (asking for the World Cup to withdrawn), we tell them that this is football.
"Russia is the world’s biggest country. You know, Russia is in the eye of the international media. Football can not only unite Russia but show the whole world that it is stronger than any protest movement."
Drawing a parallel with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Blatter added: "There was the same situation ahead of Sochi, but neither during nor after the Games, has there been a single word against these Games."
Blatter, who is in Moscow for a ceremony that will unveil the logo for the 2018 World Cup, has been pleased with Russia's preparations for the event, with 11 cities and 12 stadiums set to be utilised.
He said: "I can say that in comparison with Brazil, Russia is considerably ahead of schedule with four years remaining before the event's start."
Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke added: "We're completely satisfied with all of the facilities of the World Cup in Russia.
"Russia has done a great amount of preparation work at all of the levels."