Cold War echoes were felt in The Commons yesterday as Theresa May expelled the most Russian diplomats in thirty years.
Mrs. May’s hard line stance however left one question lingering: will England still play in the 2018 World Cup?
As it stands, there will be no appearance from Harry, Meghan or any members of the royal family, as well as British ministers, but no official word on whether we’ll be playing in Moscow in the June cup.
We asked football fans whether they’d support this boycott, and whether sports should be used as a bargaining chip in times of diplomatic strain.
First we spoke to Sophie England, a journalism student who believes that a boycott “wouldn’t be fair” on fans who have waited four years to see England play in the biggest football event.
“The world cup is such a big event, I don’t think many countries will want to join us.”, said Sophie, not optimistic that a boycott would make any impact.
“England have got some good players, so we’ve actually got a better chance than we normally do.”
The Tottenham fan also questioned what right politicians have to prevent footballers from doing their job.
“They’re not telling politicians what they can do, so why should they then have the rights to tell football players that they can’t attend their job?”
On the other hand, fellow football fan, Harry Pettitt took a difference stance, believing that national safety takes priority over sports, no matter how big the event.
However, he rejecting claims that the safety of England fans attending the cup would be abnormally at risk, saying that hostility is always to be expected – “it’s not really a family environment”.
“It’s incredibly hostile just being an England fan abroad”, he shared from his own experience of attending Euro 2016 in France.
“I think it will be more intense in Russia, but it’s not something that the people going won’t expect. It was already going to be incredibly hostile anyway.”
The cup has already been surrounded in controversy. As Harry highlights, African teams have already raised concerns over the “racist culture” of Russian football – he wonders whether this is going to be an enjoyable event.
For now, we await further developments. Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson has ruled out and outright boycott, but France has pledged its support – but for now, prepare for a competitive (more so than usual) World Cup.