Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Fan Leader Banned From World Cup

Vladimir Gerdo / TASS

Russian fan group leader Alexander Shprygin said on Wednesday he had been denied a document required to attend World Cup matches.

Shprygin, who was deported from France in 2016 during the European Championship after violence flared there, wrote on social media that his application for a World Cup fan ID had been rejected.

Shprygin, who posted a screen grab of the rejection e-mail he had received, told Reuters he had applied for a fan ID on Wednesday because he was planning to attend the tournament's opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, having been offered a ticket by friends.

But a minute later, he said, his application was rejected.

"I'm not really surprised," said Shprygin, who was not told why his application had been rejected.

"If it wasn't for the Euro, maybe I could have a fan ID."

Russian authorities require World Cup ticket holders to obtain a fan ID, a document that proves its holder has been vetted and approved by security officials.

Russia's Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, which oversees the fan ID programme, did not reply to a request for comment.

Shprygin was among a group of Russian fans expelled from France after violent clashes before and during Russia's Euro 2016 match against England in Marseille. He managed to re-enter France later in the tournament, only to be expelled again.

The Russian Football Union severed its ties with Shprygin's organisation following the incident.

Last year Shprygin, whose name is not included on a Russian Interior Ministry blacklist, was granted a fan ID to attend the Confederations Cup, but it was revoked hours before the start of the opening match.

Reuters learnt last month that a blacklisted fan had been granted a fan ID. When this was brought to the authorities' attention, the fan ID was revoked.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more