Boris Johnson says Ukraine should be given automatic World Cup place – knocking out Wales and Scotland
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised in Scotland after suggesting that Ukraine should be given an automatic World Cup place – knocking out Wales and the Scottish in the process.
Having beaten Austria last night, Wales are now due to take on whoever wins the matchup between Ukraine and Scotland in June, which has been delayed from this month because of Russia’s invasion.
But seemingly unaware that Ukraine was vying for a last remaining European spot against Wales and Scotland, the Prime Minister claimed the country should be allowed to bypass the qualifiers.
Asked at Nato headquarters in Brussels, Boris Johnson said that it “sounds like a good idea to me” although he admitted it wasn’t his “strong subject”.
“I don’t see why not, is my view,” he said.
“Let me put it this way, given what Ukraine has been going through, given the privations that Ukrainian footballers have had to endure, I’m sure that every possible sympathy and allowances should be made for them.”
It was Boris Johnson’s second football-related gaffe of the day after he called for Ukraine to host the Euro 2028 finals, apparently forgetting he has backed a joint bid by Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England to stage the tournament.
Asked whether the Euros should be awarded to Russia, Mr Johnson told Sky News: “The idea of Russia holding any kind of football tournament or any kind of cultural event right now is beyond satire. I can’t believe that anybody would seriously consider their suggestion.
“And, yes, I think that the best thing possible would be for the entire Russian armed forces to retire forthwith from Ukraine and hand the tournament to them, of course.”
His suggestion that Ukraine should be given n automatic bye into the World Cup did not go own well in Scotland, were it was criticised by Labour MSP Carol Mochan.
“We should be backing up Ukraine as and when they need it, but it’s hard to imagine this is their priority right now,” she said.
“The Prime Minister should focus on the priorities of the Ukrainian people and make sure they are getting the tangible support they need here and now, instead of cooking up these tokenistic distractions.”
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