March 6, 2018 / 3:01 PM / a year ago

UK may look at World Cup officials' attendance if Russia behind ex-agent's illness - source

Police officers stand guard beside a cordoned-off area, after former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was convicted in 2006 of spying for Britain, became critically ill after exposure to an unidentified substance, in Salisbury, southern England, March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain may rethink the attendance of official representatives at the soccer World Cup in Russia if Moscow is shown to be behind a mysterious illness that struck down a Russian former double agent in England, a government source said on Tuesday.

The source said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had not intended to suggest that England’s soccer team itself could be pulled from the tournament, which will take place from June.

Johnson had earlier said in parliament: “Thinking ahead to the World Cup ... I think it would be very difficult to imagine that UK representation at that event could go ahead in the normal way.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Stephen Addison

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