Russia urges British Royal family and politicians to attend World Cup

British government officials and the Royal family have been told that they remain welcome to attend the World Cup in Russia following England’s qualification for the knockout phase.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced a boycott of the tournament in March following the diplomatic row that broke out over allegations that the Russian state was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.

The Russian government has denied involvement in the Salisbury incident and Alexey Sorokin, chief executive of the World Cup’s local organising committee, today said that any official British visitors would still be made welcome.

As the president of the Football Association, the Duke of Cambridge has been a regular at England's World Cup games previously, along with his brother Harry. England face Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

“We have showed we welcome any fans from any country,” said Sorokin. “The atmosphere is truly hospitable and cordial, they will be welcomed as any fans or any football lovers. Anybody can come, anyone is welcome to support their teams.

“We repeatedly told the world how puzzled we are at the decision of certain politicians - not naming anyone - not to visit the World Cup."

With the group phase now complete, Sorokin described the World Cup so far as a “wonderful” success and said that Russia had never previously had so many guests in their country.