Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Could England boycott the Russia World Cup?

Forensics officers at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury. Pic Solent News Image Forensics officers at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury. Pic Solent News
Kristopher Love | 08 March, 2018, 18:45

Responding to an urgent question in the Commons, the Foreign Secretary said England's participation in the tournament could be in doubt if Russian Federation was found to be behind the suspected poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal.

Johnson's team was forced to clarify he was referring to dignitaries representing the United Kingdom, rather than the actual players themselves.

After a former Russian spy and his daughter collapsed in a suspected poisoning, the UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said his country would respond if evidence proves a foreign state was behind the incident.

Mr Johnson's calls come after former Russian colonel Sergei Skripal, who was convicted of giving Russian secrets to Britain, was exposed to a mystery substance at a shopping centre in Salisbury last weekend.

"If things turn out to be as many members on both sides of the house suspect that they are, I think we will have to have a serious conversation about our engagement with Russia", Johnson said.

Neville shared a Daily Mirror article captioned: "BREAKING: England could pull out of 2018 World Cup over Salisbury substance exposure, claims Boris Johnson". Why bring football into it?'

HuffPost UK says the Foreign Secretary "is facing demands to return to the Commons and explain himself", following the apparent backtrack by his own department.

Fellow Labour MP Toby Perkins, whose question in the House of Commons about Russia's role on the UN Security Council prompted Mr Johnson's comments, told Sky News the muddle caused by the Foreign Secretary was "incredible".

"But, if what he's actually saying is that our potential response to a British citizen being murdered is to say we're going to not eat a few prawn sandwiches with dignitaries before the game, then that's a really pathetic response".

Since the country won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, relations between Russian Federation and the West have plunged to their lowest levels since the Cold War.