Russia Waives Visa Requirements for Football Fans

Now this has really surprised me:

Russia has waived normal visa requirements for a 72-hour period for football fans with a ticket for the Champions League final in Moscow.

Supporters will need to present a valid match ticket, a valid passport, and a completed immigration form upon arrival in Russia, Uefa has confirmed.

I had expected the Russian immigration authorities to be far more pig-headed about it, and they must be congratulated on making this move.  Let’s hope they take it a step further and emulate the Ukrainians after the Eurovision Song Contest by removing the visa requirements for European tourists altogether.

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6 Responses to Russia Waives Visa Requirements for Football Fans

  1. R S says:

    Great in principle, until the British government refuse to do the same for the Zenit fans on 17th in Manchester, and the Russian authorities change their mind the week before the game as a tit for tat. But on the face of it, it seems a remarkably generous gesture from the immigration authorities given their traditional attitude and love of soviet bureaucracy.

  2. Tim Newman says:

    Heh! I didn’t think of that. :)

  3. Andy says:

    Yeah, the Zenit fans are going to face tough visa requirements from the Brits, same as normal. Guaranteed to wind up the Russian government some more.

    The thing that baffles me though is that UEFA awarded the Champions League final to Moscow two years ago. I cannot understand why an organisation that is second only to the IOC in terms of nitpicking, coped with Russia not making a decision on visas until today….

  4. Tim Newman says:

    I would guess that large sums of cash or other benefits changed hands somewhere down the line. A night in the Moscow Park Hyatt, a couple of girls, next thing you’re voting for the final to be held in Moscow.

  5. fh says:

    Hey Tim – Did you wind up going to Nizhnekamsk after all? Your profile on Norman Geras’ blog surfaced: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2008/05/the-normblog–1.html

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