Passport

This Russian Soccer Fan Was Expelled from France, then Live-Tweeted His Sneaky Return

Nine days ago, Alexander Shprygin was kicked out of France. Today, he was there to see Russia play Wales.

MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA  JUNE 18, 2016: Alexander Shprygin, head of the Russian Football Supporters' Association, arrives at Sheremetyevo International Airport from Nice, France. France deports Russian football fans after mass fighting in the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS (Photo by Mikhail JaparidzeTASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA JUNE 18, 2016: Alexander Shprygin, head of the Russian Football Supporters' Association, arrives at Sheremetyevo International Airport from Nice, France. France deports Russian football fans after mass fighting in the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS (Photo by Mikhail JaparidzeTASS via Getty Images)

Last week, after fighting broke out between Russian and British fans at the Euro 2016 soccer tournament in France, French officials detained a group of Russians and then put 20 of them on a plane back to Moscow. One of them was Alexander Shprygin, the leader of the All-Russia Supporters’ Union, a Kremlin-backed fan club for Russia’s national soccer team.

But just days after France expelled him from the country, he managed to get back in. And Shprygin flaunted his return by posting photos of himself outside a stadium in Toulouse, where he claimed to be attending Monday’s match between Russia and Wales.  

“I am at the match with a ticket,” he told Agence France-Presse Monday, shortly before he was arrested again by French officials. “The French authorities told me I was not deported but just expelled, my Schengen visa has not been cancelled, and all the stamps are there. So I can legally be in the European Union.”

He also tweeted photos of his journey, saying that he came “under the cover of the night.”

According to French officials, Shprygin made the long journey for nothing: He was detained after police officers tracked him down at the stadium during the game. Shprygin has denied his involvement in any of the clashes, but according to the Guardian he may have been targeted by police for his affiliation with right-wing groups in Russia.

Three of the Russian fans detained last week face up to two years in prison, and six British fans were also jailed. Russia was fined for their fans’ behavior, and could be disqualified if supporters cause further chaos during the tournament. Moscow summoned the French ambassador after the Russians were detained and expelled.

Photo Credit: Mikhail JaparidzeTASS via Getty Images

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