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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soccer Fan Files Suit Over Dream Ticket

The winner of a soccer lottery who never got to enjoy his prize, a trip to the World Cup in the United States, is suing the organizers on grounds of emotional trauma.


Yevgeny Rusak won the chance of a lifetime to fly to America for 10 days and watch the Russian team play this summer. But when he went to claim his prize he was told he could not go, he said Monday, speaking from his Moscow home.


Rusak, like most Russians, had no passport for foreign travel. What may have been a small hitch in the West was the death blow to his dream trip. "They told me I could not go. I didn't have a passport, it is true. How could I have foreseen that I would win the big prize?" he said.


The organizers of the lottery, the Football Fans' Forum, told him that it would take up to a month to get a passport.


This was three days before he was supposed to leave for the United States, which also would have required him to obtain a visa.


Rusak said that he felt cheated. "They should not offer what they cannot provide," he said in an interview Monday.


"They should publish the conditions of the competition and the journey. There was no information anywhere, nothing."


The Football Fans' Forum said that, on the contrary, terms were laid out for anyone who requested them.


"It was unfortunate. We are very sorry about it but he did not have a passport and there was nothing we could do," explained Nikolai Yankovsky, the organization's advertising manager.


"We said we would arrange the American visa for the winner, but we cannot help with OVIR (the Passport and Visa Service). That would be illegal. We are not a government organization," he said.


The Forum paid Rusak compensation of $1,700, which the organization estimated was the combined cost of the flight, hotel and meals during the period.


Rusak said he was forced to accept it. He is now suing for the same amount again because of what he said was the emotional trauma caused by winning a dream ticket only to have it snatched away.


"Excuse me, but I do not think the compensation was enough. $1,700 is not enough to go and live in America for 10 days," Rusak said.


The case will be heard on Oct. 24 although Rusak is hoping for an out-of-court settlement.


Meanwhile the Football Fans' Forum is planning another lottery spin for the end of September. The prizes have yet to be determined.