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Putin gives World Cup fans visa-free entry into Russia all year

President Vladimir Putin said Russia could be “proud” of its hosting of the football World Cup.

world Updated: Jul 16, 2018 11:51 IST
Putin World Cup,FIFA World Cup 2018,World Cup fans
FIFA president Gianni Infantino watches as Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) touches the World Cup trophy during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia in Moscow on July 15, 2018. (AFP)

Russia will extend its visa-free travel regime for foreign soccer fans until the end of 2018, President Vladimir Putin said after the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

Russia allowed soccer fans to travel to Russia without visas to attend the World Cup once they obtained fan IDs that were issued to supporters with match tickets.

“I think we will do the following: for foreign fans who currently have fan IDs, we will give them multi-entry visa-free travel until the end of the year,” Putin told reporters.

Putin said Russia could be “proud” of its hosting of the football World Cup, judging it a success “in every respect” after final.

“We can surely be proud of how we organised this tournament,” Putin said in televised comments after France’s victory against Croatia yesterday.

“We have made this grand event a success in every respect,” he added.

“We have done it for our supporters, for Russians who are passionate about sport and for all those who love sport across the world.” Putin thanked the foreign fans who came to Russia for the tournament.

Before it started a month ago, there had been concerns due to the memory of violence between Russian and English fans during the Euro 2016 tournament in France.

Fans at this World Cup however “showed that sport and football can manage not to divide people and not lead to fights and disputes, but unite people on the basis of common values,” Putin said.

“People tried to scare us by saying the English would come and commit hooliganism... But everyone behaved in a most exemplary manner.”

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 10:37 IST