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Meeting with Michel Platini

April 17, 2013, Sochi

Vladimir Putin met with French football legend and UEFA [Union of European Football Associations] President Michel Platini.

Developing Russian football and preparations for major international sports competitions in Russia were the subjects of discussion.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also took part in the meeting. 

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Michel, it is a great pleasure to see you.

We agreed quite a while back on this meeting and I am very happy that you have found the time to come here.

I know that you are busy right now preparing big European events, and I am very pleased to see the development in our relations not only with FIFA but also with UEFA.

I hope very much that we will find our place in your plans. By ‘we’ I mean our football organisations and teams, and I mean not just fitting in with your plans in the organisational sense, but also having the chance to show just what our football is capable of and how it is developing.

Uefa President Michel Platini (translated from Russian): Thank you very much for meeting with me, Mr President, and not only with me, but also with my colleague from the FIFA Executive Committee, Mr Mutko.

We have already taken this opportunity to visit together the training centre for Russian athletes and also look around the facilities being built for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

To be honest, I would be more interested in seeing the stadium that will be built for the 2018 [football] World Cup. That is my professional interest speaking. 

I can see in any case that the work is moving full steam ahead. I also take this opportunity to congratulate former and now once-again member of FIFA Mr Mutko on his re-election for a four-year term. 

You remember that we met recently with [FIFA President] Mr Blatter and discussed various clubs’ fans. You said then that you hoped Mr Mutko would remain on the FIFA Executive Committee. 

As you can see, everything has turned out perfectly. My good friend Vitaly [Mutko] did not even have to take part in an election as the number of candidates was exactly the same as the number of seats to be filled.

Once again, I want to thank you for finding the time to meet, and I want to express my admiration for Russian football, which we will see at the World Cup in Brazil. You have a great coach and excellent players – as you showed against Brazil. Russian football has excellent future prospects. 

I take this opportunity to compliment Vitaly and yourself on the Russian Football Union, which is doing an excellent job.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for these kind words about our football. Coming from an expert like yourself an assessment such as this is especially pleasing to hear. 

Michel Platini: You know very well that in sport, it is absolutely decisive whose territory a match or competition takes place on. The results in this case speak for themselves.

Vladimir Putin: I hope this will be the case.

Thank you very much for supporting our sports minister, Mr Mutko, in the international organisations. I think that he will learn French in a sign of his gratitude. He already learned English and can learn French now. He and I will start learning it together. 

Michel Platini: He has already made a nice start and already knows the French for “good afternoon”, “here’s to your health”, and “that’s a decent sized purse” – that’s a French proverb.

Vladimir Putin: He probably knows another French saying – “Cherchez la femme.” Everyone here knows that one.


April 17, 2013, Sochi