Football fans should “think twice” about traveling to the World Cup in Russia this summer as consular services are threatened by the diplomatic crisis between Vladimir Putin and the west, a senior White House official has warned.
The tournament kicks off on June 14 under the shadow of tit-for-tat expulsions and what some describe as a new cold war, according to The Guardian.
Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, has suggested Putin will seek to exploit the showpiece in the way Adolf Hitler milked the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936.
Read alsoFIFA panicking over calls to boycott Russia-hosted World Cup - mediaThe White House official warned anyone planning to attend: “I would think twice because we won’t have the same ability to protect our citizens or even just dealing with the regular consular affairs when we’re there. And the other countries too. You would have that concern in any country about having the lack of consular support.”
The UK foreign office says consular teams were available around the clock to assist the 20,000 England fans who visited Brazil for the last World Cup in 2014. The provision of such support will be more difficult in Russia in the present climate, the senior Trump administration official said.
“We’re trying to work with the Russians on counter-terrorism as well. Any large sporting event, no matter what country now, is a target. And so we’ve now got less ability to be able to do that with the Russians than before because they’ve decimated the counterparts who would be dealing with this kind of thing, for the UK and the U.S.”