Russia’s red card for the doping-enthusiast hajo seppelt has caused criticism in germany and called the federal government to action.
The ARD journalist was denied a visa for the upcoming soccer world championship from 14. June until 15. July denied. This is a "bad omen for objective and independent reporting" on the world cup, said the parliamentary secretary of state in the federal ministry of the interior, stephan mayer, to the ARD capital studio. The CSU politician, who is responsible for sports in the interior ministry, called on russia to reverse this step.
"This underlines the country in which the world cup is taking place," grunen party chairwoman annalena baerbock criticized russia’s decision. The politician also called on the german soccer association (DFB) to act: "sport is always also politics. The DFB must not remain silent about this.".
The organization reporters without borders (ROG) was also outraged and demanded that the world federation of soccer put its foot down. "FIFA must denounce russia’s decision and must fight for hajo seppelt to be allowed to travel to russia to cover the world cup."
The whole thing is, of course, an enormous infringement on the freedom of the press and shows that the russian government is out to silence critical voices, said frank uberall, chairman of the german association of journalists. "In view of the fact that he has made the doping trap in russia public, it can be assumed that this is a campaign of revenge."
In response to a dpa inquiry, FIFA stated that seppelt had been granted accreditation for the world cup tournament. Now waiting for information from russia. The freedom of the press is of paramount importance for FIFA. "We always strive to offer media representatives the best conditions for covering all FIFA tournaments."
Seppelt has become known for his contributions on the subject of doping, which have been broadcast on the first since 2009. He contributed thereby mabgeblich to uncover the russian doping system. "This is a political act on the part of the russians, and it has a media-political dimension. I think that politics must take a position on this," seppelt told the internet portal "salonkolumnisten".Com".
The 55-year-old berliner’s work focuses on doping, sports policy and the olympics. The award-winning journalist received the hannsjoachim friedrichs prize in 2016 because, in the opinion of the jury, he "sheds light on powerful international doping networks" and provokes "fierce resistance from international sports organizations, functionaries and sellers of glitzy gross events". For his sports programs "secret matter of doping. Im schattenreich der leichtathletik" and "wie russland seine sieger macht" (both on ARD), seppelt had already been awarded the german television prize (sports broadcast category).
Seppelt is now on a list of "undesirable persons" in russia, and the world cup visa he applied for has been declared invalid. "ARD considers this a unique event in the history of ARD sports journalism and, in view of the coverage of major events such as the soccer world cup, an unprecedented encroachment on the freedom of the press," the public TV broadcaster said in a statement. At major sporting events such as the soccer world cup or the olympic games, free access for media representatives from all over the world is usually a matter of course and is also one of the requirements for awarding the event to host countries.