BERLIN — Germany has appealed to the Russian government to let in a journalist who exposed systematic doping in Russian athletics and was denied entry to Russia to report on the upcoming World Cup.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that the cancellation of Hajo Seppelt's Russian visa was "wrong."

Steffen Seibert said "we are convinced that it would look bad on Russia's part if it would so obviously curb press freedom while the world is watching."

Seibert also called on the global soccer federation FIFA to intervene.

Seppelt works for German public broadcaster ARD. FIFA confirmed last week that it had already approved his accreditation request to the World Cup and was trying to obtain further information from Russian authorities about the case.