Putin to attend World Cup draw in St. Petersburg

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says he will attend the World Cup 2018 preliminary draw on Saturday and will meet with FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Saturday's preliminary draw, which determines the qualifying process for the World Cup, will be held at a former Russian imperial palace on the outskirts of Putin's home city of St. Petersburg.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian media on Tuesday as saying that a meeting between the Russian president and Blatter was ''on the timetable'' and that Putin would ''participate in part of that ceremony,'' referring to the draw.

Saturday's draw is set to be Blatter's first public appearance outside Switzerland since FIFA officials and marketing executives were arrested in May following a U.S. investigation into corruption and bribery allegations.