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Russia 2018 in danger as six countries plan boycott

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PHOTO:FIFA

Six countries are ‘planning state boycotts of the Russia 2018 World Cup in Russia to show solidarity with Britain.’

Officials from the close ally nations are all now likely to snub Moscow’s invitation to the tournament after the Salisbury outrage, The Sun has been told.

They are Poland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and Japan, with more expected to follow.

The communal snubs come after Theresa May’s announcement last week that Prince William and all her government ministers will refuse to play any part in the competition. And they are another boost for the PM in her stand off against Vladimir Putin.

Polish President Andrzej Duda was the first world leader to stand alongside Mrs May by revealing he has refused to go to the tournament’s opening ceremony in Moscow.

This follows the Salisbury nerve attack on March 4, as experts are still sweeping the home of the former Russian spy.

Sergei Skripal and Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in a catatonic state and anti-terror police are investigating CCTV believed to show the father and daughter before the poisoning.

Police have since released a new image of Sergei’s burgundy BMW 320D saloon as part of their counter terror investigation into the attack, with fears that that Russian and his daughter Yulia were poisoned after a toxic substance was smeared on the door handle.

Foreign Minister Boris Johnson urged Prince William not to attend the World Cup this summer before the decision was made he would not go.

Foreign Affairs Committee member and Labour MP, Ian Austin said of the boycott: “It is great to see solidarity from our allies on this.

“It is right for our governments not to give any help to Putin abusing the World Cup for his own self-glorification.”

Australia has since reportedly denied being involved in the boycott.

None of the 32 national teams competing will stay away from the tournament amid fears that a total boycott would only punish millions of football fans worldwide.

Mr. Johnson said it would “punish” fans and players to force the national team to stay away from this summer’s tournament.

Shamed former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter sparked renewed anger by insisting any boycott of the competition would be wrong.

Blatter tweeted: “Football has up to two billion followers. FIFA-World Cup 2018 in Russia: The most important sport event in the world.
“Therefore no boycott! Let’s play the game in peace and for peace!”
Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Gudlaugar Thor announced its boycott last night

In a tweet, Mr. Thor said: “Iceland stands in solidarity with UK over Salisbury Attack. High-level bilat dialogue with Russia postponed resulting in Icelandic leaders not attending FIFA WorldCup. We urge Russia to cooperate with the investigation”.

Theresa May last night told Russia the attack in Salisbury has “spectacularly backfired” after Britain’s allies booted out more than 116 of its spies.

America, Canada, Australia and Ukraine joined 20 European states including France, Germany and Spain after the EU declared the Kremlin was behind the sickening assassination attempt on ex-double agent and his daughter.



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