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SBD Global/April 12, 2013/International Football

New Russian Law Will Ease Visa Entry, Toughen Punishment For Troublemakers

Russia expects to welcome more than 1 million foreigners to the 2018 World Cup and a ''Fans Law'' guaranteeing their safety "has taken a step closer to the statute books," according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. Under the proposed law "there will be visa-free entry to the country for fans arriving with match tickets and free travel between host cities." New regulations "are also being introduced to deal with troublemakers at sporting events in the leadup to the finals." The law "will dictate that public order offences at stadiums will be punished" with a fine of up to 5,000 roubles ($161) or a 15-day detention. Russia 2018 Dir of Bid Planning and Operations Alexander Djordjadze said, "Hooliganism is a big concern in Russia, and I'm really pleased the Fans Law is being passed to deal with such extreme behavior." Breaking the rules for fan behavior at matches could mean fines of up to 1,000 roubles ($32) or 160 hours of community service and a ban from attending sporting events for between one to six months. Djordjadze said, "We want visitors to be treated as kings at our World Cup." Djordjadze said that "the perception of Russia as a country based on political corruption and mafia-led crime was wrong." Djordjadze: "The world is imprisoned, if you like, by old cliches" (REUTERS, 4/11).
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