Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that World Cup fans with ‘Fan IDs’ will be given visa-free entry to Russia until the end of 2018.
“I think we will do the following: foreign fans who have Fan IDs will be granted visa-free entry to Russia ‘til the end of this year, multiple, and, I repeat, visa-free entry,” Putin was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.
Earlier according to Russian authorities Fan IDs were slated to be valid until July 25.
Putin discussed the visa-free entry for Fan ID holders with his foreign counterparts following the end of the World Cup final between France and Croatia.
During the one-month tournament, more than one million foreign visitors entered Russia, with many using the Fan ID to obtain visa-free entry, as well as avail of free local and long-distance transportation, such as trains between the 12 cities in which matches were held.
In his remarks, Putin said he preferred not to recall negative sentiments expressed about Russia before the championship.
“Let us turn over this page. Let us speak and think about the good,” he said. “Naturally, I cannot buy thank our guests, [the] foreign guests and foreign fans.”
Additionally, Putin said that although the Russian government had been warned about the possibility of unruly fans, they “all behaved perfectly well.”
“They demonstrated that sport and football can unite people on the basis of common principles and cultural and humanitarian values, rather than disunite them,” Putin noted. “Millions [of fans] changed their opinion about our country and [that] is a great result too.”
The Fan ID travel system could also be extended to other sporting and cultural events in 2019, Putin said at a cabinet session Wednesday.
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