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Meeting with FIFA President Joseph Blatter

September 14, 2013, Sochi

Vladimir Putin met with International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) President Joseph Blatter.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller also took part in the meeting.

At the end of the meeting a partnership agreement for 2015 – 2018 was signed between Gazprom and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

Later on, Vladimir Putin and Joseph Blatter spoke with young athletes and participants in the social project Football for Friendship from cities taking part in the 2018 World Cup.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Blatter, dear friends and colleagues,

We have discussed for a long time, or rather you have discussed with Gazprom, one of our leading companies, how you can work together, not only in the light of World Cup preparations, but generally with FIFA support. The work you do is undoubtedly very important. I would even call it noble, because unlike many other associations that simply proclaim nice and well-intentioned goals, you actually work to achieve them and realise them. This has simply no precedent in humanitarian spheres and is of great value.

We are very pleased to see you, and I am glad to hear that you have agreed to work together.

Fifa President Joseph Blatter (re-translated): Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

Of course I am not only happy, it is also a great honour for me that you are with us today as we conclude a cooperation agreement with our new partner, Gazprom. It’s a great honour for us, it’s an honour for football, and it’s an honour for the forthcoming World Cup.

Naturally, we know that you are currently busy with problems other than football, but we are especially pleased that you found the time to attend this ceremony today. For my part I would like to emphasise that today we are not concluding a sponsorship agreement, but rather a partnership one with Gazprom. We are aware of the many humanitarian and social projects that this Russian company has implemented. I am convinced that this is a good partnership that will not only help World Cup preparations, but also serve us well afterwards.

Thank you very much: thank you to the Sports Minister [Vitaly Mutko] for his support, and above all to you, Mr President, for agreeing to meet with us today.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Mutko, please go ahead.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko: First of all, I would like to thank Gazprom. As Mr President of FIFA correctly noted, the company truly has implemented a great many social projects in Russia and elsewhere. I would like to recall only one, namely Gazprom for Children, which has financed thousands of sports centres, sports grounds, fields and swimming pools. In general, I think this is important because we are implementing a large project together in the lead-up to the World Cup. It is a major project which will be implemented in 11 Russian cities. We are building 12 stadiums and 64 sports training complexes. Of course, the company’s support for this project as a whole and for football in particular is very important to us.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Miller, please go ahead.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller: Mr President, Mr Blatter, Mr Mutko,

Today we signed an agreement with FIFA, the world’s largest football organisation, for the qualifying period for the 2018 World Cup. Gazprom is a leader in the global energy market, and so naturally our standings as partners are compatible.

The most important thing is the opportunities that Gazprom will receive. Under this agreement, we obtain the rights to certain categories of goods: oil, diesel and gas, and the extraction, processing and marketing of these products. We have rights for advertising these products in FIFA stadiums during competitions that will take place over the next four years, from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2018.

We will be able to use the FIFA trademark in our advertising, as well as the phrase “official FIFA sponsor” in Gazprom’s advertisements. And of course there are many new possibilities relating to social programmes that we will discuss with FIFA.

In particular, I think we will find compatible, new initiatives within the framework of Gazprom for Children. I think that first of all we will provide our younger athletes, the younger generation with the opportunity to come in contact with and to see the World Cup.

I want to thank our FIFA colleagues and Mr Blatter personally for the constructive work undertaken in a relatively short period; during that time we resolved a large number of issues related to preparing this very extensive agreement.

Vladimir Putin: You have already been working on this for a long time. How long did you discuss these issues?

Alexei Miller: I think some eighteen months. We met at that time with Mr Blatter in St Petersburg, but our discussions became more intense recently.

Vladimir Putin: I would like to congratulate all of you on the signing of this agreement.

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September 14, 2013, Sochi