Eight months after the end of the World Cup in Russia, thousands of fans are still in the host country of the event.
According to the Russian authorities, about 5,500 fans who entered the country with a Fan ID – an ID issued for the tournament with all information from fans and that it served as a visa – still remain there illegally, and therefore will be deported .
Most are men and come from Nigeria (most), Bangladesh, Cameroon, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen, among other countries.
Many traveled with the sole intention of witnessing the Championship, but other «they came hoping to get asylum and staying in Russia permanently or travel to Europe and seek asylum there», explained to the BBC Evgeni Yastrebov, consultant in matters of immigration of the Committee for civic assistance, an organization that works with refugees in Russia.
The caravan of thousands of migrants forgotten in Europe however, adds, could not leave to Europe because they cannot cross the borders.
Without money or hope to receive asylum situation for those who are now stranded in Russia is complex: on the one hand I do not want to return, but by another does not have the resources to feed themselves.
Nor do they speak Russian, whereupon the opportunity to get a job is negligible.
«They are going through great difficulties because now it is winter and it’s very cold. The Government does not offer them any assistance even to those who want to apply for asylum», says Yastreboy.
«Some receive money sent to them by relatives, others find no official work. They don’t pay them much, but it’s something», it continues.
The request for asylum nor seem to be an option that is going to come to fruition.
According to official figures, Russia granted full status of refugee only 33 people in 2017.
Document to reach without visa the Fan ID were originally created to facilitate the entry of soccer fans.
Its validity was tied to the dates of the tournament, but the authorities extended it until the end of 2018.
As reported last month the Ministry of the Interior, at the end of 2018, about 12,000 people had remained in Russia despite the fact that the document had expired.
The security services were able to reduce this number to 5,500.
The authorities intend to deport them all to late March.