World

Putin says Russia on track for World Cup as suspended Valcke misses 1,000-days-to-go event

  • A goalkeeper tries to save the ball at a soccer park installed at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. Russian and FIFA officials on Friday unveil clock counting down 1,000 days to go until Russia’s World Cup 2018 starts. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    A goalkeeper tries to save the ball at a soccer park installed at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. Russian and FIFA officials on Friday unveil clock counting down 1,000 days to go until Russia’s World Cup 2018 starts. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Spanish soccer star Fernando Hierro gestures as he speaks with the media at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. Russian and FIFA officials unveil clock counting down 1,000 days to go until Russia’s World Cup 2018 starts. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Former Spanish soccer star Fernando Hierro gestures as he speaks with the media at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. Russian and FIFA officials unveil clock counting down 1,000 days to go until Russia’s World Cup 2018 starts. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 file photo FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke listens to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko during a press conference in St.Petersburg, Russia. FIFA says it suspended secretary general Jerome Valcke with immediate effect, Thursday Sept. 17, 2015 hours after he was the subject of allegations over a deal for 2014 World Cup ticket sales. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 file photo FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke listens to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko during a press conference in St.Petersburg, Russia. FIFA says it suspended secretary general Jerome Valcke with immediate effect, Thursday Sept. 17, 2015 hours after he was the subject of allegations over a deal for 2014 World Cup ticket sales. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)  (The Associated Press)

Russia is marking 1,000 days to go until the 2018 World Cup, but FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke is absent after being suspended from his duties.

Against the backdrop of turmoil at FIFA, Russian President Vladimir Putin said World Cup preparations were going to plan as he launched a youth football tournament on Red Square.

Speaking by video link, Putin said "Russia always approaches events like (the World Cup) in a responsible way."

There was no reference to Valcke, FIFA president Sepp Blatter's right-hand man, who had been due to appear at the event before he was suspended Thursday. That followed allegations Valcke was involved in black market sales of tickets to 2014 World Cup matches.