England could face being kicked out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA in four years time should they decide to boycott the tournament in Russia this summer, according to reports.
There have been increasing calls from the UK government recently to withdraw from the upcoming competition following the attempted murder of a former Russian-Spy in Salisbury this week.
Boris Johnson just suggested that England should boycott World Cup '18 if Russia is behind the spy poisoning. First sanction he suggests is a football boycott - seems to be punishing the fans who have waited four years rather than the Kremlin. #WorldCup #SergeiSkripal pic.twitter.com/pgZ7DoNLx9— StrongerStabler (@StrongerStabler) March 6, 2018
The attack was carried out by a nerve-agent and has left 18 people needing medical attention, as well as spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter fighting for their lives and a police officer requiring intensive care.
Although such an act seems far removed from the world of football, the thought process from Parliament is that withdrawing England from this summer's World Cup - the only team in the UK to have qualified - would hit Russia hard; with suggestions made that president Vladimir Putin's organisation may have had a hand in the attempted assassination.
However, according to The Telegraph, any boycott of the upcoming competition could have repercussions that could also factor into the Qatar-hosted tournament in four years time.
Fifa's regulations state that: “All participating member associations undertake to play all of their matches until eliminated from the Fifa World Cup”.
Within those rules, 'Article 6' dictates that any withdrawal could produce sanctions, “including the expulsion of the association concerned from subsequent Fifa competitions”.
I think England should definitely boycott The World Cup, ⚽ & a neutral country like say, I dunno, Ireland or somebody should take their place. 😉— Divisbhoy (@divisbhoy) March 9, 2018
Also, the English football association would face a 250,000 Swiss francs (£190,513) fine; should their decision to withdraw come more than 30 days before the competition - a penalty which is doubled if declared within that timeframe.
Such a boycott from the World Cup after qualification would be unprecedented; although Denmark replaced Yugoslavia at a week's notice in 1992 following civil war outbreak.