By Duncan Mackay |
Icelandic politicians will boycott this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia in protest at claims that the Kremlin was behind the suspected attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain earlier this month, they confirmed today.
British Prime Minister Theresa May had revealed following the attack on Skripal in English city Salisbury on March 4 that members of the Royal Family, including Prince William, President of the English Football Association, and politicians would not travel to the tournament due to take place between June 14 and July 15.
“Among the measures taken by Iceland is the temporary postponement of all high-level bilateral dialogue with the Russian authorities,” the Foreign Ministry in Reykjavik said in a statement said today.
“Consequently, Icelandic leaders will not attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer.
“The Salisbury attack constitutes a grave violation of international law and threatens security and peace in Europe.”
Iceland’s participation in Russia will mark the first time the country has ever qualified for the World Cup.
Australia, Denmark, Japan, Poland and Sweden are also expected to announce shortly that they will not send any senior politicians to Russia for the World Cup.
Polish President Andrzej Duda was the first world leader to stand alongside May by revealing he has refused to go to the tournament’s Opening Ceremony in Moscow on June 14.
Iceland’s decision came as 16 European Union (EU) countries today gave a large number of Russian envoys notice to leave their territory.
The United States, Canada and Ukraine have also announced the expulsion of dozens more Russian diplomats.
Iceland, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization but not of the EU, imposed sanctions against Russia along with the EU over the annexation of Crimea.
Russia denies any role in the attack on the Skripals, who remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.