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Australia likely to boycott World Cup over nerve agent attack – Foreign Minister

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Australia would likely boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia in response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there were a range of other possible actions, such as Australia boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

 “There are a whole range of further options of action that could be taken.
“The boycott of the World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter,” Bishop told reporters in Canberra.

The governing body for Australian football said that as far as it was concerned, the World Cup was going ahead as planned.

“As things stand, all qualifying teams, including the England team, will be taking part in this FIFA event and that continues to be our intention,” Football Federation Australia said in an emailed statement.

Australia had already imposed a series of sanctions against Russia following the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 and the Russian annexing of parts of Ukraine in 2014.

Traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Flight MH17 was shot down in 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew. Most of the victims were Dutch and 28 were Australian.

International prosecutors concluded the airliner was shot down by a missile fired from a launcher brought into Ukraine from Russia and located in a village held by pro-Russian rebels, contradicting Moscow’s suggestion that Ukraine’s military brought down the plane.

Australia also  said it would also expel two Russian diplomats in response to the incident that the British government has blamed on Moscow.

The U.S. said on Monday it would expel 60 Russian diplomats, joining governments across Europe in punishing the Kremlin.

In total, 100 Russian diplomats were being removed, the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.

NAN reports that the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA.

It is scheduled to take place in Russia from June 14  to July  15, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010.

This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany; all but one of  the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains, to keep travel time manageable.

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team.

Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup.

A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities.

The final will take place on July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.