Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

African football fans that remained in Russia face deportation

Article from AFRIC Editorial
All the fans of the 2018 world Cup did not leave Russia, as over 5,000 African football supporters remained in the country after the competition came to an end. These fans’ are now facing deportation as their passports are long overdue.
Some fans travelled to Russia without a visa then tried to escape through the Russian border to Poland and Norway during the summer, while others tried to find work and settle in Russia.

In fact, thousands of African fans turned out to be labor migrants, who saw an opportunity to get a better life in Russia, as the championship opened her gates to welcome all those who could afford a flight ticket as a football fan. Most of these illegal immigrants were sent home pretty quickly, as the Russian government bought return tickets for those who could not pay for themselves. After this incident, entry of foreigners to Russia may be restricted for at about 5 years.

Today, there is news of illegal African immigrants all over Russia.

St. Petersburg

Since March 3 of this year, five Nigerians who arrived in Russia in the summer for the World Cup are detained in St. Petersburg. They were found in one of the apartments during the FSB border guards’ raid.


Bailiffs of the Voronezh region expelled African fans that arrived last summer for the World Cup. On the territory of the Voronezh region, 50 Nigerians were detained, including 3 women who illegally remained in Russia after the end of the World Cup. 25 of them have been expelled by air from Voronezh, while the rest of the detainees are awaiting shipment in a special institution for the maintenance of foreigners and stateless persons who are subject to deportation or administrative expulsion from the country.


In Moscow, “illegal immigrants” are delivered to the Temporary Detention Center for Foreign Citizens (TSVSIG) – by court order. The center is not a prison, but there are certain similarities: two rows of six-meter fences with barbed wire, massive gates, security cameras and thick bars on the windows. Foreigners live here until the Russian state decides what to do with them.


In Sochi, there is the story of the Nigerians who dreamed of becoming football stars in Russia; who turn out to be victims of a scam. Unfortunately, the entire Nigerian football teams; hastily assembled from former fans has become illegals migrants.

The “players” swear they are not to blame for staying past their due time in a foreign country – they were deceived. Players cannot even go to the police now and write a statement that they have been the victim of fraud because they will be detained and placed in a special detention center as violators of the migration regime and then forcibly deported.


Immigrants are from different countries in Africa, with the highest number from Nigeria.  After the president of the country learned of the wandering Nigerians through the media, he sent his personal plane to rescue his compatriots.

Most Africans, despite all the trials and failures in trying to make money, are absolutely delighted with Russia, and promise to return again. Some are seeking political asylum, and have not lost hope of remaining in Russia. But overall, the World Cup in Russia has become a fascinating journey for most Africans, which they will talk about for a long time in their homeland.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit Image : google images/African  in Russia

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