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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Australia considering to curb involvement in FIFA World Cup over nerve-agent attack

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has, however, clarified that they would not boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

football Updated: Mar 27, 2018 16:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
This is the first time that the FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia.
This is the first time that the FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia.(Reuters)

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has hinted that the nation’s involvement in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia can be a curtailed one owing to the nerve-agent attack in Britain earlier this month, allegedly backed by Russians.

“The FIFA World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter,” she was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald while addressing a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Besides Australia, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and South Korea have qualified from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

However, she later clarified on Twitter that the country was not contemplating boycotting the tournament — one of the biggest sporting events besides the Olympics. However, there are other viable options as well such as not having Australian officials attend the event.

Britain has already stated that they would keep their politicians and members of the royal family away from the tournament.

Australia has taken strict note of the attack in Britain in which former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury and found unconscious on a bench.

Bishop further went on to add that orders have already been issued for the expulsion of two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers and have been given seven days to leave the country.

The foreign minister, in her joint-media release stated: “Together with the United Kingdom and other allies and partners, Australia is taking action in response to the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury, UK. Two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers will be expelled by the Australian Government for actions inconsistent with their status, pursuant to the Vienna Conventions.

“The two officials will be directed to depart Australia within seven days. This decision reflects the shocking nature of the attack — the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, involving a highly lethal substance in a populated area, endangering countless other members of the community.”

Australia are grouped alongside 1998 FIFA World Cup winner France, Denmark and Peru in Group C and kick-off their campaign on June 16 when they lock horns against France. Australia were part of the last edition of the tournament in Brazil and have taken part in just four FIFA World Cups till date with a Round of 16 finish in 2006 their best showing so far.