England ‘desperate’ to attend World Cup despite Russia tensions

Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate said Thursday his players are “desperate” to go to the World Cup in Russia despite soaring political tensions between London and Moscow over the poisoning of an ex-spy.

Britain on Wednesday said it would expel 23 Russian diplomats and suspended high-level contacts over the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which it has blamed on Russia.

Prime Minister Theresa May also said earlier this week that no ministers or members of the royal family would attend the showpiece event, which starts in mid-June.

But Southgate said there are no plans for a boycott by the team, although the security of players and staff would be taken into consideration.

“We are desperate to go to a World Cup and that’s really where my remit ends on that matter,” Southgate said as he named his squad for friendlies this month against the Netherlands and Italy.

“We’re preparing to go to the World Cup, there’s no doubt in our mind that’s what we should be doing.

“The only thing at this stage that is of highest importance is the safety and security of our players and absolutely of our travelling supporters.”

Any government interference in the decision-making of national football associations is strictly banned by world football’s governing body FIFA.

And the FA said only a threat to security would force a rethink on England’s participation.

“A key fundamental in that is safety and security of our participants, players, our employees and of course our supporters and that’s where our primary focus will be,” said Robert Sullivan, the FA’s director of strategy and communications.

“It is not for us to make those broader political judgements.”

Southgate said his side could suffer if England fans decide against travelling to the tournament.

“It’s always a huge boost for us as a team when we’ve got our travelling support with us,” he added. 

“We have some of the best fans in the world so, in the end, that’s got to be an individual choice as to which games they attend.”

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family

Leave a Reply

Translate »