Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has arrived at the World Cup as a guest of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
The Swiss was in charge of football’s global governing body at the time Russia was awarded the tournament in December 2010, before his reign ended amid a corruption scandal involving FIFA.
He was suspended in December 2015 for eight years, later reduced to six, after an investigation carried out by FIFA’s ethics committee which brought an end to his reign as president after 17 years in charge.
Blatter, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, last week told the New York Times he would meet Putin during his trip.
Press Association Sport understands the 82-year-old Blatter will attend Wednesday’s match between Portugal and Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Russian newspaper Sport Express reported on its website that Blatter would then go to St Petersburg to see Friday’s match involving Brazil and Costa Rica.
The Russian Football Union honorary president Vyacheslav Koloskov, who played an important role in securing the tournament, was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying he intended to meet with Blatter.
“We haven’t seen each other for two and a half years,” he said. “I have known Blatter since 1980.”