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May avoids taking U.K.–Russia clash to the soccer field

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge in London. Abramovich, a Russian oligarch, is reported to have a friendly relationship with President Putin. Photo: Clive Rose via Getty Images

Prime Minister Theresa May's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats sent a strong message to Russia after its nerve-agent attack on British soil earlier this month. She has refrained, however, from bringing the dispute to one of the largest world stages: the soccer field.

Why it matters: Boycotting the FIFA World Cup in Moscow this June is arguably the most powerful symbolic retaliation Britain could take against Russia. But there may simply be too much money and public emotion invested for May to do so.