Switch on Fans’ Visas Comes Too Late

The Soviets have done another flip-flop on the matter of visas for Israeli fans who wanted to accompany the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team to Moscow, for its match Thursday against the CSKA Red Army team.

After reneging last week on a promise to issue up to 400 visas, the Soviet authorities announced Tuesday afternoon they were reversing the reversal.

But it was too late. The Diesenhaus travel agency, which handled the arrangements, said it was informed by Soviet officials in Vienna at 2:30 p.m. that up to 400 visas would be granted.

By then, the last plane from Israel able to connect with a Vienna flight to Moscow had departed. Subsequent flights would arrive in Moscow too late for the game, Diesenhaus said.

Meanwhile, it appears no Israeli flag will be displayed during the historic game at Moscow’s sports stadium. That news was flashed from Moscow by sports commentator Yoav Tocker Wednesday in what was probably the first satellite broadcast by Israel Television from the Soviet capital.

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