Finland has detained several prospective asylum seekers after they attempted to enter the country from Russia with a 2018 FIFA World Cup ticket.
One man reportedly admitted he had bought his match tickets and Fan ID to try and reach the European Union nation, state broadcaster YLE reported.
People use the application process as a method to get into Russia without a visa and then attempt to cross into Finland.
Fan ID, which FIFA has required every supporter to obtain, replaced the need for a visa that is usually required to get into the World Cup host nation.
The Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation reportedly said they are paying “heightened attention” to the border during the course of the international football tournament, the Telegraph found.
Three citizens of the African nation of Senegal were detained trying to cross into Finland on Monday and face deportation.
The Russian publication Fontanka reported that at least 10 people had been detained trying to cross the Finnish border during the tournament.
“It was a little surprising that there were some many incidents right at the start of the World Cup,” Marko Saareks of the Finnish border service told YLE. “We assumed that there would be more nearer to the end, when countries start to be knocked out of the competition.”
Migrant rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina said visa-free entry with a World Cup Fan ID could spark a new wave of refugees.
“People will seize any chance to use their right to seek asylum,” Gannushkina said. “People know there are places where they will take you in humanely.”
Image: Marco Verch