German reporter Hajo Seppelt obtains Visa to the FIFA World Cup

Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game

German reporter Hajo Seppelt has now been allowed entry to Russia for the World Cup. Photo: Thomas Søndergaard


By Luca Arfini
Russian authorities made a step back on their decision regarding Hajo Seppelt's visa, the German investigative journalist that divulged information on doping in Russian athletics.

“Intermediate success: Russian side has just told us that Hajo Seppelt can at least go to the World Cup. We continue to follow the development of events,” said the German Minister for Foreign Affairs on his Twitter account.

Last week, the German reporter Hajo Seppelt got his visa application rejected by the Russian authorities making his participation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup impossible. However, after the numerous protests by German politicians and the set-up of a petition, Russian authorities have decided to review their decision. Tuesday, they stated that he will be granted a visa to attend the event.

"We regret the inconvenience experienced by the journalist and reiterate that FIFA, (local organizers) and hosts Russia will offer the best possible working conditions for all accredited media representatives," the international football governing body FIFA stated on the issue.

However, the Russian Investigative Committee also declared that they will question him as soon as he arrives in the country in relation to the open criminal case against doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, who was the former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director. Seppelt played a crucial role in documenting the doping practices of Russian athletes, ultimately contributing to their exclusion from this year's Olympic Winter Games.

“In case Hajo Seppelt appears in Russia, the Investigative Committee once again will take steps to question him about things he learned while preparing a documentary about supposed wrong-doing by Russian athletes,” the Committee announced in its official statement.

Rodchenkov escaped to the United States in November 2015, when he was accused by the Investigative Committee of illegally buying doping substances to sell them afterwards to Russian athletes in response to Rodchenkov’s claims that the Russian government controlled the doping scheme.

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