Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said he will be attending the World Cup in Russia as Vladimir Putin has invited him - even though he is barred from football.
He spoke to AFP and said: "I will go to the World Cup in Russia. I received an invitation from President Putin," The Daily Star reported.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov also said the country would be happy to see Blatter there next year and added "you know that Putin and Blatter have for a long time been, you could say, friends."
Blatter said his alleged trip may only be short and "I don't know how long I will go for, whether I will be there for the opening match or the final."
He also claimed former Uefa president Michel Platini has also been invited by Putin to the event, yet he too is also banned from football due to corruption.
Despite this claim a source close to Platini said he has not been invited by the Russian President and "doesn't know what he will be doing next summer."
Blatter was kicked out of football in 2015 as he was found guilty by the Fifa ethics committee of accepting money from Platini when he was the Uefa chief, leading to a suspension from football activities for six years.
It is not yet clear how the ban imposed on Blatter affects his ability to attend football events.
Swiss prosecutors are also currently investigating the former Fifa president due to allegations of criminal mismanagement.