POSTED: July 1st 2009

Visa law eases path to Sochi 2014

Two of Sochi's budding Winter Olympians of the future / Sochi 2014 press service
Two of Sochi's budding Winter Olympians of the future / Sochi 2014 press service

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

MOSCOW: Russia has eased its visa laws to fall fully into line with Olympic demands for the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 – at least as far as competitors and officials are concerned.

An amendment to the country’s personal entry regulations has been signed into law by State President Dmitry Medvedev so that administrative procedures match internationally-accepted demands for Olympic and Paralympic hosts.

The law now covers both the organizations of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games and procedures for entry to and exit from Russia.

It does not go as far as to emulate the measure introduced for spectators, at the instigation of then-President Vladimir Putin, for football’s Champions League final in Moscow in 2008. Then a match ticket was accepted, over a three-day period, as possessing the validity of a short-stay visa for fans of the two English clubs involved, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Travel regulations are set out by the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee in accordance with the IOC Olympic Charter and the IPC Handbook.

Legal action was necessary however because Russia’s laws, previously, acknowledged only the IOC Olympic Charter and not the IPC Handbook. This means that, as well as for the Olympics, a Paralympic Identification and Accreditation Card can be issued by the IPC and the Sochi 2014 organisers.

The law was approved by the State Duma on June 5 and ratified by the Council of the Russian Federation on June 17 – the two necessary steps before President Medvedev signed it formally into law.

Keywords · IOC · IPC · Sochi 2014 · Medvedev · Putin

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