August 07, 2014 22:03
Athletes need no visas to enter Russia for world contests - minister
MOSCOW. Aug 7 (Sport-Express/Interfax) - Foreign athletes and officials who are going to take part in world championships in Russia in various sports need no visas to enter the country, the sports minister said on Thursday.
This practice was first used when Moscow hosted the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea in 2008, Vitaly Mutko told reporters in Moscow.
"Forty thousand British nationals entered our country without visas, just on a ticket. That was our first experience. Then we did all the sums, gave a report to the president, a decree to that effect was issued, and changes were made to the law. A list of types of competitions that this procedure would cover was approved - it's only world championships, no lower," he said.
"At the moment a world canoeing championship is taking place in Moscow, many athletes and organizers have arrived. Each of them needs accreditation. We send it to a person who is going to come here, and they go through border control with this accreditation and with their passport, which is their main identification document," Mutko said.
"It's effectively a visa. We used this at the World Martial Arts Games in St. Petersburg last year. The same procedure will be used at the judo world championship in Chelyabinsk in August and at the world aquatic sports championship in Kazan next year," he said.
For the 2018 soccer world cup, visa-free entry would be allowed not only for athletes and officials but also to spectators. "We've made the commitment that a ticket to a match during the soccer world cup will be authorization to enter the country without a visa. We will do it," Mutko said.
However, such a ticket would have to have the holder's name on it, he added.
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