Journalist Robert Kempe will finally be able to cover Euro 2020 matches in Russia.

Author of critical reports on Russia and specialist in the links between sport and politics, he had seen his accreditation canceled at the request of the Russian authorities who finally backed down. 

A journalist from German public television ARD, to whom Russia had refused accreditation for the Euro, will finally be allowed to travel to St. Petersburg to cover matches, the channel announced on Sunday.

Author of critical reports on Russia, Robert Kempe had seen his accreditation for the matches of Saint Petersburg canceled at the request of the Russian authorities, a decision condemned Friday by his channel and by the association of German journalists.

"An unacceptable attack on press freedom"

Following these protests, the Russian authorities reversed their decision, according to the ARD website. "This example shows how important it is to make these kinds of incidents public," said editor-in-chief Ellen Ehni, "as the media we need to be vigilant and make it clear when our journalists cannot work freely. ". The Association of German Journalists had notably denounced "an unacceptable attack on press freedom (demonstrating once again) that Russia does not want critical articles".

Asked to intervene, UEFA replied that it was "not in a position to change such a decision or to obtain detailed information on the reasons for the rejection of the request". Robert Kempe, who specializes in investigating the links between sport and politics, recently worked on relations between the Russian gas giant Gazprom and UEFA, on which he has a critical eye. Before the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he had carried out investigations on sensitive subjects for Russia, in particular on Chechnya, or on the hiring of North Korean workers for the construction of a stadium in Moscow.