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Berlin protests Russia's World Cup ban on German journalist

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Berlin protests Russia's World Cup ban on German journalist
Hajo Seppelt. Photo: DPA
12:39 CEST+02:00
Berlin protested on Monday against Moscow's decision to ban from the World Cup the German journalist who broke the story on Russia's state-sponsored doping scandal.

"We view this measure by the Russian authorities to invalidate (Hajo) Seppelt's visa as wrong," said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

"We call on the Russian leadership to allow this German correspondent to enter the country to report on the football World Cup tournament."

Seppelt said in an interview Friday that his application for a visa, submitted by public regional broadcaster SWR, was rejected as he was apparently on a "persona non grata" list in Russia,.

Moscow did not specify the reason but Seppelt said the "uncovering of the state doping system has had such great impact for Russia that it felt that it needed to take such measures".

"It would be interesting to see if FIFA, which must ensure access to unfettered coverage of its tournament, would take on this case," he added in an interview on Friday.

Seibert also stressed the importance of FIFA pressing the case.

"Free reporting of what is probably the biggest international sporting event next to the Olympics must be assured," he said. 

"We are convinced that it puts Russia as a host in a bad light if the freedom of the press and of opinion is curtailed before the eyes of the world."

SEE ALSO: German TV says Russian athletics doping still ongoing

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Arman Flint - 21 May 2018 00:03
Maybe Gerhard can put in a word for Seppelt with Vlad.

Oh, heck. Who am I kidding?
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