Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, says that Iceland and England’s diplomatic boycotts from the upcoming World Cup in Russia, will be “unlikely to have any kind of negative effect on the sporting festival as a whole,” reports Russia Today (via RÚV). Iceland announced on Monday that no government officials would attend the event, in light of recent allegations that Russian spies poisoned former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil.
“The attack is a serious violation of international laws and a threat to security and peace in Europe,” read the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The reaction of the Russian government to the attack has so far been untrustworthy and their statements implausible.” Iceland is not, however, expelling its Russian diplomats, as the US and several EU countries have done. Nor is Iceland’s participation in the World Cup itself in any doubt.
In his statement to journalists, Peskov emphasized that “the World Cup what is important,” he continued, “is not the arrival of delegates or official representatives, the important thing is the team matches.”
For their part, the Icelandic Men’s National Team is also keeping their eyes on the prize, as it were. “We’re focusing on the World Cup and getting results there,” said Guðni Bergsson, the president of the Icelandic Football Association. He went on to say that the absence of Icelandic officials wouldn’t negatively impact the players. “They’re great professionals and have a lot of experience.”