As reported by AP, German officials called on the International Federation of Association Football, FIFA to intervene after a journalist who exposed systematic doping in Russian athletics was denied entry to Russia to report on the upcoming World Cup.
Hajo Seppelt is a top German journalist who uncovered and exposed systemic doping and cover-ups in Russia. He works for ARD, the German consortium of regional public broadcasting networks. In recent years Seppelt and ARD have consistently revealed and reported on doping scandals, including working with whistleblowers to expose systematic cheating in Russian track and field events.
German parliamentarian Dagmar Freitag said the cancellation of Hajo Seppelt’s visa was “not just completely unjustified, but pretty scandalous”. Freitag told the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) she was “anxious to see how Infantino reacts”.
The head of the German Soccer Federation, Reinhard Grindel, also noted FIFA’s pledge to uphold press freedom. He told the dpa he had “full confidence FIFA will use its influence, so Mr. Seppelt can report unhindered from Russia”.
“Generally speaking, the freedom of the press is of paramount importance to FIFA, and we always aim to provide media representatives with the best possible conditions for coverage of all FIFA events,” the Federation said in a statement.