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Czech Authorities Deport Belarus Soccer Chief For COVID Violations

Uladzimir Bazanau (file photo)
Uladzimir Bazanau (file photo)

Czech authorities have deported the chief of the Belarusian Football Federation, Uladzimer Bazanau, and his wife for allegedly breaching COVID-19 pandemic rules by not having applied for an exemption to travel restrictions.

A spokeswoman of the police department in the country's Moravian-Silesian region, Pavla Jirouskova, said on December 1 that "two foreign citizens who were detained yesterday" had been ordered to leave the Schengen area by the end of the day on November 30.

"An inspection at the site of their residence revealed that they had violated regulations imposed by the Health Ministry on the entry of foreigners to the Czech Republic," Jirouskova said.

The Denik N news website quoted outgoing Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek on December 1 as saying that Schengen visas issued to Bazanau and his spouse by another Schengen country had been voided and that they were released from custody to allow them to leave the country immediately.

The TASS news agency reported on December 1 that the Belarusian Foreign Ministry had summoned the Czech charge d'affaires to protest the expulsion.

Kulhanek called Bazanau a "supporter" of Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, whom the European Union and several other Western nations have not recognized as president following an election in August last year that the Belarusian opposition and Western governments say was rigged.

Kulhanek added that "Lukashenka's supporters" had no reason to be in the Czech Republic.

The couple was arrested on November 30 on their way to a soccer match between the women's teams from Belarus and the Czech Republic for what was officially explained as "violation of quarantine regulations."

With reporting by Denik N, Zerkalo, TASS, and Parlamentni listy
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