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Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Joseph Blatter, president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), discussed the popularisation and development of soccer

January 26, 2000, Olimpiisky Sports Center, Moscow

Mr Putin and Mr Blatter spoke during a break in a Commonwealth Champions Cup soccer match between Spartak Moscow and BATE (Belarus).

Mr Blatter told Mr Putin of the consultations he was holding with his Russian counterparts, especially regarding the Gol programme, through which FIFA supports national soccer associations.

Mr Putin said that soccer’s popularity played a big role in the game’s development. Its popularity in turn depended on the success of national teams. He suggested to Mr Blatter that some thought be given to moving players between clubs, because if they did not contribute to their national teams’ results, they would not add to soccer’s popularity.

Mr Blatter noted that FIFA was already drafting rules allowing national associations more scope to keep players at home.

The two men also touched upon the development of children’s and youth sports. Mr Putin expressed his view that FIFA’s support in this area, and above all the federation’s experience in dealing with organisational matters, could come handy for Russia.

January 26, 2000, Olimpiisky Sports Center, Moscow