No England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

Frederick Owens
March 22, 2018

"If Europe's three leading football nations whom bookmakers expect to be at least semi-finalists in the World Cup - Germany, France and Spain - were to decide that an unprovoked nerve agent attack by Russian Federation on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally merited joining England in a boycott, it would destroy the credibility and attraction of the tournament and hurt Putin's popularity more than any economic or diplomatic sanction", Purslow wrote. "At the same time, half of the FAN IDs have been ordered by citizens of foreign countries", the statement read.

"By using a specific type of nerve agent known to be developed in Russia, it was a sign that no former Russian agent was immune and no-one could escape the long arm of Russian revenge", the BBC quoted the foreign secretary as saying.

The FAN ID is a personalized card which is part of a system for identification of football fans.

Johnson said the number of fans seeking tickets was around a quarter of the number who wanted to go to the last World Cup in Brazil - around 24,000 compared to 94,000 at the same stage in 2014.

Mr Johnson told MPs there had been speculation there might have been "some reaction in Moscow, in the Kremlin to the very considerable loss of Russian life" among the Wagner group of mercenaries in Syria.

The act imposed a visa ban and froze the assets of Russian officials implicated in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, a tax fraud whistleblower who died in Russian custody in 2009.

"I'm afraid that's completely right, completely right", Johnson replied.

Soccer's global governing body, Fifa, has unveiled Russian telecoms operator Rostelecom as the latest partner of this year's Fifa World Cup national team tournament.

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"I don't think we face that kind of existential threat, but it is a threat nonetheless and we have to be tough and resolute".

He was concerned however about the safety of English fans and the ability of the British embassy and consular services to protect them.

"There is simply no other third option here".

Mr Yermakov added: "It is becoming more and more obvious that this attack against the Skripals in Salisbury is most probably a blatantly framed illegal adventure".

"I think the comparison to 1936 is certainly right", Johnson said Wednesday before the British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Select Committee, before suggesting that the thought made him feel sick.

Russia's old city of Kaliningrad already has one stadium.

"The reason why they picked the United Kingdom is very simple".

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