Foreign Minister Bishop 'not considering' Australia World Cup boycott

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after defeating Ecuador and qualifying to the 2018 World Cup football tournament in Quito

AFP 2018 Juan Ruiz Stunning Messi Hat Trick Drives Football Fans Crazy and Argentina to World Cup

The Australian national team may be forced to boycott the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers will be expelled by the Australian Government for actions inconsistent with their status, pursuant to the Vienna Conventions.

"The boycott of the World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter", she told a media conference.

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced no British diplomat or royal family member would be attending the World Cup this summer, including English FA president Prince William, in retaliation for alleged Russian involvement in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK.

Iceland has announced it will be boycotting the World Cup this summer.

Meanwhile, Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said their government is not planning to entertain a World Cup boycott.

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Of the 16 European Union states that have already agreed to expel Russian diplomats, six are due to appear in the tournament, including reigning champions Germany, and perennial heavyweights Spain and France. While making no specific announcements about the World Cup, the U.S. State Department is urging Americans in general to "reconsider travel" to Russian Federation because of terrorism threats and harassment of U.S. citizens.

Russia is certain to respond to the diplomatic expulsions with measures of its own and anti-Russian rhetoric is only deepening in response to the Skripal affair.

Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. "This decision reflects the shocking nature of the attack - the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, involving a highly lethal substance in a populated area, endangering countless other members of the community".

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