MX23RW : Sunday, January 20 01:36:54

Christian Purslow calls on England, France, Germany and Spain to boycott World Cup

Ex-Chelsea chief urges World Cup boycott
Former Chelsea chief executive Christian Purslow urges England, France, Germany and Spain to withdraw from the World Cup in defiance of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Former Chelsea and Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow has urged England to boycott this summer's World Cup in Russia.

The United Kingdom and the tournament host nation are embroiled in a diplomatic row following a poisoning incident in Salisbury which left an ex-Russian spy and his daughter ill.

Prime minister Theresa May has already confirmed that government ministers and senior royals will not attend the World Cup, while pressure is mounting on the Three Lions to withdraw from the tournament.

Purslow, a former top aide of Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge, believes that England, France, Germany and Spain should quit the competition to highlight opposition to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

"If Europe's three leading football nations who bookmakers expect to be semi-finalists in the World Cup - Germany, France and Spain - were to decide that an unprovoked nerve agent attack by Russia on a NATO ally merited joining England in a boycott, it would destroy the credibility and attraction of the tournament and hurt Putin's popularity more than any economic or diplomatic sanction," the 54-year-old wrote in The Times.

"Our government could not target a measure which would be better guaranteed to make clear to the Russian people what their leader is up to and what right-thinking citizens of the world feel about it."

Russia deny being involved in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.


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