"Russia has voided the visa of ARD doping expert Seppelt, demanded for the World Cup… The ARD broadcaster considers this an unprecedented event in the history of ARD sport journalism and an unprecedented interference in press freedom in terms of coverage of major events, such as the World Cup," the broadcaster said.
However, Sputnik has not been able to obtain a confirmation of this information from the Russian side yet.
ARD Program Director Volker Herres found this reported visa denial "hard to understand," and expressed hope that the decision, which he sees as the desire to gloss over unpleasant topics, would be revised. According to the broadcaster, the German Journalistic Union has also criticized the decision.
Russia hosts the final part of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in history. The first match between Russia and Saudi Arabia to kick off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on June 14 at 18:00 local time (15:00 GMT).