Russian Federation hits back at United Kingdom, cites 2018 World Cup

England manager Gareth Southgate at the World Cup finals draw in Moscow with Belgium's Roberto Martinez

Russian Federation hits back at United Kingdom, cites 2018 World Cup

Russia's foreign ministry has said British threats to boycott the 2018 World Cup over the poisoning of secret agent Sergei Skripal will damage both the relationship between the two countries and world sport.

While that seems likely to prompt the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain, a possible boycott of the World Cup is being reported in some circles as another option being privately considered.

In a statement published on Monday, the ministry was quick to condemn the reports, claiming they were for the objective of ramping up "anti-Russian hysteria".

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Mr Kinnock admitted that such action on the World Cup by football governing body FIFA was unlikely, but he said it would be better than for England to simply unilaterally withdraw.

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Mr Farron said: "If Russia is guilty of this appalling crime, on top of the information we now have of their state-sponsored interference in democratic elections in the UK, US and elsewhere then we should boycott the World Cup".

Last week, United Kingdom foreign secretary Boris Johnson said that "it will be very hard to imagine that UK representation [at the World Cup] will go ahead in the normal way" if Russian involvement was proven. "I'm afraid the danger of Russian Federation responding to British fans for actions taken by their Government is all too real", he said.

However, the ministry was adamant that such conclusions had been made in haste, saying: "The investigation into [the poisoning of Skripal], which is not only still not complete, but virtually hasn't even started".

Mourinho's television role at this year's World Cup in Russian Federation was announced a day after the Salisbury incident but the Portuguese boss has since repeatedly refused to answer questions about his position as a pundit.

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"We want to emphasise once again that such provocative statements that fuel anti-Russian hysteria, only complicate relations between our countries and are a blow to the sport". The team were reportedly "disgusted" when shown images of bombing victims in Eastern Ghouta, Syria by journalists from the country's biggest-selling newspaper Bild.

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Reichelt also reportedly called on German firms such as Mercedes-Benz and Adidas, which had links to the Nazi party during World War II, to reconsider their sponsorship of Russian Federation 2018.

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