William ‘not planning’ to attend World Cup in Russia
A royal source stressed the plans not to travel to Russia were made before the incident involving Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.
The Duke of Cambridge has no plans to attend the football World Cup in Russia – a decision which predates the double agent poisoning, a royal source has said.
The UK’s attendance at the sporting event has become a political issue after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were targeted by what is believed to be a nerve agent.
As president of the FA, English football’s governing body, William would be expected to have some contact with the national team during the World Cup.
But the duke’s involvement may be just a good luck phone call to manager Gareth Southgate and his squad of players after the source said of William’s involvement with the tournament “there are no plans to attend”.
The source stressed the plans not to travel to Russia were made before the incident involving Mr Skripal and his daughter.
Theresa May said the Government would “look at whether ministers and other dignitaries should attend” the sporting event during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Her comments came after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told MPs it would be “very difficult to imagine that UK representation” at the World Cup could “go ahead in the normal way” this summer.
The Russian embassy has said it was “completely untrue” to suggest the country’s special services were involved.
The duke played a role in England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup, joining a delegation in Switzerland in 2010 which included David Cameron and David Beckham, but it ultimately failed.
That year the second-in-line to the throne and Prince Harry attended an England group game when the football tournament was hosted by South Africa.
At the following World Cup, staged by Brazil in 2014, only Harry attended.
Kensington Palace declined to comment.