U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that no members of the British royal family or government ministers will attend the 2018 World Cup in Russia in the wake of the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal.
Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, remain in critical condition after they were exposed to what U.K. authorities have described as a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month.
Last week, U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson said that "it will be very difficult to imagine that U.K. representation [at the World Cup] will go ahead in the normal way" if Russian involvement was proven. On Monday, May said that Russian involvement in Skripal's poisoning was "highly likely."
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, May confirmed that no representatives would travel to Russia despite the England national team's presence at the tournament.
Earlier this week, Russia's foreign ministry said in a strongly worded statement that any potential British World Cup boycott would damage the relationship between the two countries as well as world sport.
May said on Wednesday that Russia has expressed "disdain" for Britain's wish for an explanation into the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter. Russia's actions "represent an unlawful use of force," she added.
The U.K. will force 23 Russian diplomats to leave Britain within the next week, May said. It's the biggest such expulsion since the Cold War.
Russia has denied responsibility in the March 4 attack on the Skripals.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.
Latest Nigeria News
- I won’t box again if I had Povetkin’s doping issues –Joshua
- Nwakali joins Porto on loan
- Rapes and beatings: The travails of S’Korea’s young athletes
- ‘We aren’t under pressure to win Lagos badminton’
- Aremu joins F’Eagles for Mauritania clash
- 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships – DAY 1 WRAP DAY 2 PREVIEW
- Fabinho jokes he'll get Kylian Mbappe to swap PSG for Liverpool
- Pogba's France role no good at United
- Sanchez gets visa to join Manchester United’s US tour
- With 11.4m responses, Ronaldo’s Instagram post becomes fifth most liked of all time
- Jorginho vows to bring fresh style to Chelsea
- Robson: Mourinho took a dig at Pogba in press conference
- Liverpool seal deal for Alisson in world-record goalkeeper transfer
- Cheery up, Mourinho!
- Hislop: Usain Bolt to the A-League is a marketing ploy
- Wilshere hoping to boost England chances with West Ham move
- French World Cup ace Pavard may join Bayern before new season
- Liverpool close in on record €75m deal for Brazil’s Alisson
- Cristiano Ronaldo move to Juventus influenced by Spain tax rate - La Liga chief
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Paul Pogba answered Manchester United critics at World Cup
- Liverpool giving medical to Alisson ahead of 'significant' transfer - Monchi
- Leicester City in talks with Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward - source
- Zinedine Zidane has never been considered as France coach - FFF boss
- Petr Cech fully focused on Arsenal, no Chelsea offers on table - agent
- Mourinho worried by Man United’s ‘very bad’ pre-season
- Balogun eager to kickoff new EPL campaign with Brighton
- ‘We have to collect their bones’: Klopp fears post-World Cup injury woe
- Arsenal youngster Nwakali joins Porto on loan
- French envoy angry at joke that ‘Africa won the World Cup’
- Transfer Talk LIVE: Chelsea and Milan in Alvaro Morata, Gianluigi Donnarumma swap
- Guikan brace sends Gor flying past Yanga
- Transfer Talk LIVE: Manchester United lining up Robert Lewandowski, Thiago moves
- Spending 22 years at Arsenal, my biggest mistake –Wenger
- Athletes kick as AFN hands off domestic competitions
- Russia 2018 Tit Bits: A lesson for African (mis)leaders
- Joshua ready to prove his worth against Povetkin
- Enyimba beat Williamsville 1-0 in Confed Cup
- AYG: Nigeria draw Morocco, Libya in football
- Turkey, Hungary, United States clubs join Central Coast Mariners' race to sign Usain Bolt
- Transfer Talk: Manchester United lining up Robert Lewandowski, Thiago moves