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26 Mar, 2022 07:21

UK journalist ridiculed for Ukraine World Cup suggestion

The reporter claimed Scotland and Wales should give up their potential World Cup spots to Ukraine
UK journalist ridiculed for Ukraine World Cup suggestion

A British journalist received social media scorn for suggesting that Scotland and Wales should make way for Ukraine and let them go to the 2022 Qatar World Cup automatically.

Scotland and Ukraine were meant to meet in a qualifying semifinal on Thursday which has been postponed due to Russia's ongoing military operation.

The winner will face Wales in the playoff final after they beat Austria 2-1 thanks to a Gareth Bale brace.

But Jim White at the Daily Telegraph insisted that the UK countries should "should step aside and let Ukraine go to the World Cup – however hard it may be."  

Social media football fans quickly pounced on the suggestion, with one saying he had "never heard such nonsense."

"Will England step aside too?" he asked. "[Should] every team just let Ukraine win the World Cup? What about Syria, Palestine, Yemen or is there a reason you're not fussed about those countries being bombed?"

White he did write that if Scotland and Wales "feel unable to do so, maybe England should," in an act that "would be more than virtue signaling".

"This would be a proper and meaningful statement of support," White said. "For Wales and Scotland to stand aside would be one of the most impressive actions in the history of sport. Sacrificing your own goals and ambitions to promote and highlight someone else would command genuine, lasting respect. A lot more respect indeed than qualifying and not making it beyond the group stage."

"Jog on, this is ridiculous," White was told by an angry punter. "The writer of this article has completely lost the plot," a separate party said.

A Ukrainian agreed with this sentiment and also said the idea was "absolute nonsense." 

"We want to be at the World Cup, but by merit, not out of pity," he highlighted.

"Just give Ukraine the World Cup and save any bother," began someone else along similar lines.

"Do you really think Ukraine will want to be handed a place in the World Cup? It's insulting to the players. This faux sentimentality is ridiculous."

But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on board after saying that the gesture "sounds like a good idea to me" and that he "doesn't see why not" regarding Ukraine getting a bye. 

When it was pointed out to him that Ukraine's automatic passage would come at Scotland's expense, Johnson said he wasn't "going to comment on that." 

"Let me put it this way. Given what Ukraine has been going through, given the privations that Ukrainian footballers have had to endure, I'm sure that every possible sympathy and allowances should be made for them," Johnson went on.

These remarks come after Johnson said that Russia attempting to host the European Championships in 2028 or 2032 was "beyond satire," and raised the prospect of Ukraine being granted the rights to receive the continental tournament in 2028 despite a joint bid from the UK and Ireland. 

"The idea of Russia holding any idea of football tournament or any kind of cultural event right now is beyond satire," Johnson claimed while attending a Brussels NATO summit to discuss Russia's military operation in Ukraine on Thursday. 

"I can’t believe that anybody would seriously consider their suggestion and, yes, I think the best thing possible would be for the entire Russian forces to retire forthwith from Ukraine and hand the tournament to them," he finished.