Russia to let Hajo Seppelt enter for the World Cup | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 15.05.2018
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Russia to let Hajo Seppelt enter for the World Cup

Russia had initialy refused to allow German investigative reporter Hajo Seppelt to enter the country to cover the World Cup. However, Moscow has now agreed to grant him a visa to cover the event.

Germany's foreign minister, Heiko Maas, announced via his Twitter account on Tuesday that the Russian authorities had agreed to allow investigative sports journalist  Hajo Seppelt into the country for the World Cup, which kicks off in mid-June.

"The Russian side has just told us that Hajo Seppelt can enter at least for the World Cup. We continue to work for free reporting," Maas tweeted.

The reporter, who works for German public broadcaster ARD, had initially had his visa application rejected, as Russia had declared him "persona non grata."

The German government and German football association (DFB) subsequently called on world football's governing body FIFA to pressure the Russians into changing course. FIFA said in a statement issued last week that it had accredited Seppelt for the World Cup and that the freedom of the press was "of paramount importance."

Since 2009, Seppelt and the ARD have repeatedly uncovered and reported on doping scandals, including working with whistleblowers to expose systematic cheating in Russian track and field. The 55-year-old Berlin-based journalist has won a number of awards for his work on doping and efforts to cover it up.

pfd/mp (dpa, SID)

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