Readers' letters - March 30

England should pull out of World Cup

Friday, 6th April 2018, 2:55 pm
Updated Friday, 6th April 2018, 3:01 pm
Russian President Putin

As a lifelong football supporter, the sight of our World Cup players trying on their World Cup suits causes me a great deal of concern in the current climate. Regretfully, I believe the FA should seriously consider boycotting the tournament in the light of increased diplomatic tensions between our country and Russia. Surely the primary consideration must be the security of both players, staff and travelling fans.Our Foreign Secretary has expressed concern that the British diplomat responsible for liaising with the fans has been sent back to the UK as part of the Russian retaliatory response to our PM’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, following the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. One cannot imagine anything more counter productive for the UK’s ability to help fans in Russia.Masked Russian fans ran riot at the Euros in Marseille two years ago, attacking indiscriminately and our own fans behaved disgracefully at the friendly with Holland.The potential confrontation is a cocktail that must remain unmixed. We have all been reminded of the 1936 Berlin Olympics which Adolf Hitler used to promote Nazi regime. This is Putin’s tournament and are we going to allow history to repeat itself and give him every opportunity to raise his profile on the world stage? Morality has not always been football’s strong suit but surely its ruling body should think that colluding in this propaganda coup is unacceptable.Russia does not deserve to host such a prestigious tournament. We are all proud our country has qualified but, should we be fortunate to repeat our 1966 success, the idea of our captain shaking hands with Comrade Putin as he receives the trophy would be unthinkable. Withdrawing will be unpopular, resulting in fines and possible bans, but a boycott is the only course of action in the light of the Kremlin’s disrespect for international law.Jim Oldcornvia email

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