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Sport German journalist Hajo Seppelt, who broke Russian doping scandal, to skip World Cup

08:31  14 june  2018
08:31  14 june  2018 Source:   dw.com

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Russia has denied a visa request to report on next month's soccer World Cup events from a German investigative journalist who broke the Russian doping scandal story. German TV channel ARD reporter Hajo Seppelt . Share.

Hajo Seppelt became a pariah in Moscow after his documentaries on cheating among Russian athletes led to the country being. Moscow (AFP) - Moscow bowed to pressure from Berlin on Tuesday and granted a Russia World Cup entry visa to a German reporter who broke the story on its alleged

Hajo Seppelt. © picture alliance/Schwörer Pressefoto Hajo Seppelt.

A German sports journalist who uncovered widespread Russian doping will not travel to cover the World Cup there due to risk to his safety, German public broadcaster ARD reported today.

There would be an "incalculable risk" to ARD doping expert Hajo Seppelt if he travelled to Russia for the World Cup, according to a joint assessment of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Berlin State Criminal Office and Germany's intelligence service.

The decision not to send the prominent 55-year-old journalist was made after a meeting between ARD representatives, Seppelt, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

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Russia has backed down from an attempt to block a German reporter who broke the Russian doping scandal from entering the country as an accredited journalist during soccer's 2018 World Cup . But it remains unclear whether Hajo Seppelt , an investigative reporter from Germany 's ARD TV

Investigative sports journalist Hajo Seppelt will be granted a Russian visa to attend the 2018 World Cup . Seppelt became famous for being instrumental in breaking the story about alleged state-sponsored doping in Russian sport.

Seppelt and the ARD have repeatedly uncovered and reported on doping scandals, including working with whistleblowers to expose systematic state-sponsored cheating in Russian track and field.

'Public enemy'

Several of Seppelt's investigations led to numerous Russian athletes being banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Other Russian athletes could participate in the games but only under a neutral flag.

Many Russians view Seppelt as a "public enemy" and he has received numerous threats.

In May, Seppelt was denied a visa to Russia to cover the World Cup because he was considered a "persona non grata" in the country. Russia later reversed its decision under pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the world football body FIFA.

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Berlin protested against Moscow's decision to ban from the World Cup German journalist Hajo Seppelt who broke the story on Russia 's state-sponsored doping scandal , stoking further an already controversial tournament.

Prominent German sportswriter Hajo Seppelt , who contributed to the Russian doping scandal being exposed, has been denied a visa to Skip to content. Primary Navigation Show menu Hide menu. Share. German journalist Hajo Seppelt has been denied a visa to cover the World Cup in Russia .

One of the main reasons arguing against sending Seppelt to the World Cup is an upcoming Russian state investigative committee hearing into Grigory Rodchenkov, ARD reported.

Rodchenkov is the former head of Russia's anti-doping lab, which was suspended in 2015 by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after it launched an investigation following Seppelt's reports.

Rodchenkov was involved in the Russian doping scandal but fled to the United States in 2016, becoming a key witness in revealing state-sponsored doping. He is now under the FBI's witness protection program.

Two former high-level officials at the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, Nikita Kamaev and Vyacheslav Sinev, died within weeks of each other in February 2016.

German security assessment

In light of Russian investigations into Rodchenkov, German authorities found that there was risk of "legal escalation" against Seppelt, including arrest, if he does not cooperate with the Russian committee.

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A German investigative sports journalist has been denied entry to Russia for the upcoming World Cup . Hajo Seppelt has reported extensively on doping at the highest level of Russian sports. Since 2009, Seppelt and the ARD have repeatedly uncovered and reported on doping scandals , including

A German sports journalist who uncovered widespread Russian doping will not travel to cover the World Cup there due to risk to his safety, German public broadcaster ARD reported on Wednesday. There would be an "incalculable risk" to ARD doping expert Hajo Seppelt if he traveled to Russia for

In addition, "spontaneous acts of violence (against Seppelt) by self-motivated actors" cannot be ruled out, German security bodies concluded.

Seppelt told German television program Magazin Kontraste on Wednesday that his case should highlight the danger faced by Russian journalists.

"What does that say about sports journalism when things have already come this far, and what does it say about what happens to people who live as journalists in Russia," Seppelt said.

Russia's hosting of the World Cup has been controversial, not least because of the state of media freedom in the country.

Reporters Without Borders says seven journalists are behind bars in Russia for their reporting and at least 34 journalists have been killed in connection with their reporting since President Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999.

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