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Britain allows Russians free visas for UEFA Cup final

SoccerNews in English Premier League 8 May 2008

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Russians wanting to attend the May 14 UEFA Cup final between Zenit St Petersburg and Glasgow Rangers in Manchester will be able to receive visas for free, Britain's embassy in Moscow said on Thursday.

To be sure of getting visas fans will have to apply by May 9 at the British Foreign Office website www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk.

The announcement was an unusual gesture of goodwill amid tense relations between Britain and Russia following the 2006 killing in London of Russian ex-agent Alexander Litvinenko. Moscow has refused to extradite the man accused by Britain of the killing.

Also on Thursday Russia's parliament passed a law which will allow English fans to visit Russia without a visa for the Champions League final on May 21, Russian news agencies reported.

The law allows the Russian president to suspend the need for visas for foreign citizens in certain situations.

Up to 50,000 fans are expected to visit Moscow for the final between Chelsea and Manchester United.

UEFA has given 13,000 tickets to the St Petersburg club, news agency Interfax reported.

Russian parliamentarian Mikhail Grishakov said the new Russian law could be used to allow sportsmen and guests to travel without a visa to the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Interfax said.

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