Russia’s president signed a decree today which will allow football fans visa-free entry for the Champions League final next week.
Dmitry Medvedev also signed an amended law which will allow the Russian president to suspend visa regulations for other special events, such as the 2014 Winter Olympics.
As Russia’s wealth and self-confidence has increased over the past decade, the country has sought to position itself as a major venue for international sports events.
But these initiatives have been overshadowed by the country’s laborious visa procedure.
The Champions League final in Moscow next Wednesday features English teams Manchester United and Chelsea.
The tens of thousands of British fans attending the game will be allowed into Russia without visas if they can show they have tickets.