‘Australia is not considering World Cup boycott’ – Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

‘Australia is not considering World Cup boycott’ – Foreign Minister Julie Bishop
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the government will not join the countries which are diplomatically boycotting the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

"There are a whole range of options of further actions that could be taken [against Russia]. The World Cup is one of the further actions," Bishop stated on Monday, talking about the steps Australia could take in addition to the expulsion of two Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK, which many Western countries blame on Moscow.

READ MORE: 16 EU states announce coordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats over Skripal case

Bishop’s words sparked concern among Australian football fans and officials regarding the Socceroos’ participation at the World Cup in Russia this summer. However, later the same day she addressed the concerns, tweeting that "the government is not considering a boycott of the World Cup."

On Monday, Iceland announced it would be joining the United Kingdom in diplomatically boycotting the tournament. It comes after European countries, including 16 EU member states, as well as the US and Canada, announced that they would be expelling Russian diplomats over the Skripal case.

READ MORE: Iceland to diplomatically boycott 2018 World Cup in Russia

This summer Russia will host its first ever FIFA World Cup between June 14 and July 15. The tournament will be staged at 12 stadiums in 11 cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Sochi, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Samara.