Telegraph columnist blasted for calling on Wales to hand Ukraine World Cup spot – ‘Why not England?’
A Telegraph columnist has been blasted online for calling on Wales and Scotland to step aside and hand their World Cup spot to Ukraine.
Jim White, who is from Manchester, said that to qualify now Wales or Scotland would have to beat Ukraine in July or September.
He said that both would earn a lot more respect by making way “than qualifying and not making it beyond the group stage”.
Their qualification run means that Wales were now “playing to destroy a rare moment of illumination for a nation currently shrouded in miserable, imposed darkness,” he said.
“Suddenly they are the sides looking to extinguish a rare moment of hope in a nation being destroyed before our very eyes.
“Imagine if Ukraine made it to the tournament in November, what that could mean for the morale in the beleaguered nation. What a magnificent riposte it would be to the murderous dictator in the Kremlin, a man who knows full well what the World Cup offers in terms of international prestige and exposure.”
‘Not out of pity’
His view did not impress fellow Telegraph journalist James Corrigan, who asked: “Why does it have to be Wales or Scotland stepping aside. Why can’t another country give up their place? Such as England perhaps? It’s easy to ask for some other sap to make the sacrifice, isn’t it?”
However Jim White called on Wales and Scotland to take on what he called “one of the most impressive actions in the history of sport”.
“Ukraine in Qatar is the thing everyone now craves,” he said. “And for Wales and Scotland that is a problem. In fact, so onerous is the possibility that they would be the ones to smother hope, the wisest course for both would be to stand aside and let Ukraine qualify automatically.”
The suggestion did not impress those, reacting to the article, with one Ukrainian fan, Діма, saying: “Absolute nonsense. We want to be at the World Cup, but by merit, not out of pity.”
Ollie Davies asked: “Never heard such nonsense. Will England step aside too? Every team just let Ukraine win the world cup?”
Thomas Cowan asked: “And then if they’re in the World Cup, would it be okay to play and beat them then? Maybe if we just cancelled all sporting events and announced Ukraine as the winner, all their problems would be solved.”
Ukraine have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on one occasion in 2006 where they reached the quarter finals. Wales most recently reached the World Cup in 1958, also reaching the quarter finals.
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