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Russia: Federal Law to Regulate Soccer Tournaments

(July 12, 2013) On June 8, 2013, in line with preparations for the Soccer World Cup, which will be held in Russia in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a law that provides for the increased involvement of federal and local government authorities in the building of infrastructure for this tournament and in supervising the operations of the championship match. (Press Release, Administration of the Russian Federation President, Vladimir Putin Signed the Law on Preparations for and Holding in Russia the 2018 Soccer World Cup [in Russian] (June 8, 2013).)

Entry and Exit

Federal Law No. 108 establishes new procedures for obtaining visas and for entry to and exit from the country by foreigners associated with the International Federation of Soccer Associations (FIFA). (Federal Law No. 108 [in Russian] (June 8, 2013), Russian Federation President website (official publication).) The Law formalizes norms introduced by the Russian President in May 2013, when he decreed visa-free entry to Russia, regardless of their citizenship, for members of sports delegations and judges participating in international sporting events conducted in Russia, including the 2013 Summer Universiade and next year Winter Olympics. Through 2018, only a valid passport and a document confirming one’s participation in an international competition will be required to cross the country’s border. The list of applicable tournaments and the length of stay will be decided by the government. (Decree of the Russian Federation President, No. 484 (May 8, 2013) [in Russian], Russian Federation President website.)

According to the Law, those who arrive in Russia for the Soccer World Cup will be subject to simplified immigration and customs control procedures. In addition, requirements will be eased for foreign currency transactions, such as exchange, cross-border transfers, declaration requirements, and bank withdrawals, and for registration as foreign visitors. (Federal Law No. 108, supra.)

Taxation and Commerce

FIFA, its business organizations, and national soccer federations, together with other businesses and international organizations participating in the World Cup preparations, will be exempt from taxation on Russian territory through 2018. The 150-page Law also softened advertising restrictions on foreigners and established norms regulating such matters as the use of World Cup symbols and souvenirs for commercial purposes, the sale of tickets to games, and hotel service during the period of the tournament. (Id.)

Free Transport

Because the soccer matches of the World Cup will be held in eleven cities acrossRussia, the Law provides for free use of public transportation within and between the cities where games will be held for all those who puchase tickets to attend the games. (Id.)

Land and Property

Additionally, the Law establishes a new procedure for government seizure of private property under eminent domain rules. The government hast the right to evict owners and tenants and confiscate the property within seven days after it decides that the land in question is needed to conduct the soccer tournament. The owners have the right to receive the government-offered reimbursement and will have only ten days to appeal the takeover. This rule will be valid through the end of 2017. The Law further provides that government lands where soccer-related construction occurs can be used by investors for the next 49 years. (Id.)


Immediately after adoption of Federal Law No. 108, the Government of the Russian Federation allocated an amount approximately equal to US$20 billion for work related to preparation for the 2018 Soccer World Cup. (Government Resolution No. 518 [in Russian] (June 20, 2013), Government of the Russian Federation website.)