Completion of World Cup stadium in Samara behind schedule

Former Chelsea managing director Christian Purslow right has suggested a World Cup boycott would have a major impact on Russia

In a further development to the nerve agent row yesterday, Russia's foreign ministry head of non-proliferation and arms control insisted Moscow bore no responsibility for the incident and dismissed British demands for an explanation as "absurd".

England is still expected to send the Three Lions to the tournament and none of the 31 nations that qualified alongside the host have said they would not do so.

Meanwhile the United States joined Germany and France in voicing support for Britain's position and blaming Russian Federation for the attack which was carried out with a secret nerve agent designed specifically for assassinations.

Johnson agreed with an MP who suggested, "Putin is going to use it in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics", as a propaganda exercise.

Austin added that England, the sole member of the four nations that represent the United Kingdom that will participate in Russian Federation, should boycott the event in protest at the alleged chemical attack.

"I can say in Russian "vodka" and "borsch".

"Your characterisation of what is going to happen in Moscow in the World Cup, in all the venues - yes, I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right", Johnson replied during a question and answer session with lawmakers.

Putin, he said "will use the event like Hitler did in 1936 at the Olympics.to strengthen the brutal and corrupt regime he is responsible for".




The comparison was made as Mr Johnson issued a warning to Russian Federation that it had a duty to ensure England fans travelling to the World Cup are properly protected.

Merkel added: "I would be happy if I didn't have to name Russian Federation here, but we can't disregard evidence because we don't want to name Russian Federation". "If a member of my family wanted to go he'd be subject to visa ban by me".

Russian Federation will host the World Cup at 12 venues spread across 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi.

Russian Football Union vice-president Nikita Simonyan added: "What's important, is whether the (England) team wants to come".

Johnson said Russian Federation carried out a nerve-agent attack on British soil because the United Kingdom has "time and again called out Russian Federation over its abuses" of human rights and democratic values.

The Foreign Secretary also said the country has a duty to ensure England fans travelling to football's biggest tournament this summer are protected.

According to reports, England fans made just 24,125 requests for tickets in the first phase of ticket sales which ended in October, compared to 96,780 at the same stage ahead of the World Cup in Brazil.

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