Hajo Seppelt, a journalist of the German television company ARD, was denied the Russian visa needed to travel to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Deutsche Welle reports.
On Friday, May 11, ARD’s press service reported that Seppelt was included in Russia’s list of “undesirable persons.” Details of the decision made by Russia have not been reported yet.
The German media company called Seppelt’s visa refusal “a unique event in the history of ARD sports journalism, and from the point of view of coverage of such a major event as the World Cup, unprecedented interference in the freedom of press.”
Free access of media representatives to sports events is typically assumed and is considered one of the necessary conditions for selecting a country to host the event, the press service stated.
Seppelt has been reporting on doping in world sports for many years. Among other stories, the journalist reported on the doping system in Russia, which, presumably, functioned with participation of the state. Seppelt’s revelations led to the removal of Russian athletes from participation in international competitions.
European Parliament deputies recently called on EU countries to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which will be held from June 14 to July 15.