A British parliamentary committee has urged the government not to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia as part of a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite expressing reservations about Russia's human rights record, the rule of law in the country, and state-sponsored doping, the Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee said in a March 2 report that the World Cup should be used to build bridges.
The committee also called for more cooperation between British and Russian police following battles between English and Russian soccer fans that marred the Euro 2016 tournament in Marseilles.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said "all options" are being considered to put pressure on Russia over its role backing the Syrian government in its six-year civil war.
But the committee said the government "should use this tournament and others to enhance and repair the wider relationship between the U.K. and Russia, rather than boycott sport in response to other strained aspects of U.K.-Russia relations."
World soccer's governing body FIFA has said it is reconsidering whether to let Russia host the 2018 World Cup, but the committee said any decision not to hold the tournament there should be based on "sporting" rather than "political" grounds.
Based on reporting by AFP and TASS