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Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Monday, 5 May 2008 17:38 UK

Russia gives fans visa reprieve

Chelsea supporter with Champions League final ticket
Match tickets for the Champions League final are hot property

Russia has waived normal visa requirements for a 72-hour period for football fans with a ticket for the Champions League final in Moscow.

More than 42,000 Chelsea and Manchester United fans are set to attend the match at the the Luzhniki Stadium on 21 May.

And the visa exemption will apply between 19 and 23 May.

Michel Platini, president of European football's governing body Uefa, has thanked the Russian government for an "unprecedented gesture".

Supporters will need to present a valid match ticket, a valid passport, and a completed immigration form upon arrival in Russia, Uefa has confirmed.

Anyone overstaying the 72-hour entry period will then have to pay the fee for a regular visa when leaving the country.

This is great news for football fans travelling to watch this year¿s UEFA Champions League final in Moscow

Michel Platini
Uefa president

"This is great news for football fans travelling to watch this year's UEFA Champions League final in Moscow," said Platini.

"Our job is to make sure that they are able to get to and from Moscow as easily as possible.

"I am therefore extremely pleased that at my request, all fans travelling with a valid match ticket can use this to enter Russian territory.

"For this I must thank wholeheartedly the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, the city of Moscow and the Football Union of Russia for this exceptional and unprecedented gesture."

Manchester United and Chelsea officials met with Russian match organisers in Moscow last Thursday to discuss the situtation, with supporters of both clubs eagerly waiting for an announcement since they qualified for the final.

606: DEBATE

The move will alleviate a huge burden on the Russian National Tourist Office in London, which has been handling visas on behalf of the Russian Embassy in Britain for the Champions League final.

Fans without a ticket, hoping to travel independently, should be able to have their visas processed in plenty of time - though the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised supporters not to travel "if they do not have a ticket or accommodation beforehand".

Both clubs have been given 21,000 tickets each for the final at the Luzhniki Stadium, where the capacity is being set specifically at 69,500.


see also
Why is Moscow so expensive?
02 May 08 |  Magazine
Final tickets on sale for £5,000
01 May 08 |  Business
Ferguson heaps praise on Scholes
30 Apr 08 |  Man Utd
Fans await Russian visa details
30 Apr 08 |  Europe
Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool (4-3)
30 Apr 08 |  Europe
Man Utd 1-0 Barcelona (agg 1-0)
29 Apr 08 |  Europe


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