Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Strip Russia of World Cup and delay it to 2019, says MP

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock questioned whether the ‘celebration’ of football should be held in Russia in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning.

Britain should ask Fifa to postpone the football World Cup to 2019 and take it away from Russia in retaliation for the Salisbury poisoning, an MP has said.

The four-yearly sporting extravaganza is due to kick off in Moscow on June 14, and is expected to be used by Vladimir Putin as a massive PR opportunity for his country.

But Labour’s Stephen Kinnock said Fifa should be asked whether it was appropriate to mount a celebration of football in a state suspected of being behind the deployment of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK.

Do we seriously think we should be having a celebration of the beautiful game in Russia in the summer, given what has happened on the streets of Salisbury? Stephen Kinnock

Mr Kinnock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we should seriously consider making a co-ordinated approach to Fifa and talk about moving the World Cup to 2019 and have it hosted in another country or countries.

“Putin has invested billions of roubles in the World Cup and sees it as an opportunity to showcase his regime to the world.”

Theresa May has said no Government ministers or members of the Royal Family will attend the World Cup and the Foreign Office has warned England fans planning to travel to Russia that they should “be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment”.

But the Government has not given its backing to a boycott of the tournament, insisting that the England team’s involvement is a matter for the Football Association.

But England manager Gareth Southgate said: “It’s of little interest to me what the foreign secretary thinks about it.”

Speaking ahead of Friday’s friendly with Holland in Amsterdam, he added: “I spoke to the players a couple of days ago and there’s no suggestion we won’t go to the tournament.

“The thing that’s uppermost in our mind is security and safety and there are no concerns about that.”

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph