Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the United States on Thursday for its corruption indictment against officials from football's governing body, calling the case an attempt to spread its jurisdiction to other countries.
The world's most popular sport was plunged into turmoil this week when seven senior soccer officials were arrested on U.S. corruption charges and face extradition from Switzerland.
Putin said in televised comments that it was an "obvious attempt" by the U.S. to prevent the reelection of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, 79, whom Russia is supporting. That vote is due to happen Friday with Blatter facing one opponent in his bid to win a fifth term.
"If anything happened, it did not happen on U.S. territory and the United States has nothing to do with it," Putin said. “This is yet another blatant attempt (by the United States) to extend its jurisdiction to other states."
Russia is hosting the next edition of FIFA's premier event, the World Cup, in 2018.
Putin's comments follow a similar message from Russia's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, which called the case an "illegal extraterritorial application of American law."
There was no immediate U.S. reaction to Putin's remarks.
The awarding of the 2018 games to Russia is part of a Swiss investigation into allegations of mismanagement and money laundering.
Some material for this report came from Reuters.