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© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Putin scraps visa requirement for international athletes

by RIA Novosti & The Moscow News at 13/05/2013 12:16

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree waiving visa requirements for foreign athletes, coaches and other staff attending international sports events in Russia, the Kremlin announced on Monday.

Athletes are due to pour into Russia in droves over the next five years, with next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 football World Cup the two biggest draws.

"Participants in international sporting competitions ... can enter and exit the Russian Federation without applying for visas on the basis of existing documents that confirm their identity and are accepted by the Russian Federation," a Kremlin statement said.

The decree goes into effect immediately.

Athletes, coaches and medical staff must be in possession of official accreditation by competition organizers to qualify for visa-free status, the statement said.

The government is to publish regulations on how long those without visas may remain in the country, the statement said.

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