Jose Mourinho’s decision to work as a World Cup pundit for Kremlin-backed television channel RT has been strongly criticised by MPs following the Salisbury poisoning attack.
In a statement given to Press Association Sport, Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said: “To my mind, this is blood money, paid directly from the Russian state coffers.”
RT, formerly known as Russia Today, has recently been attacked by politicians in France and the United States for pumping out propaganda in support of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and on Monday in parliament several MPs called for its UK broadcasting licence to be withdrawn.
While he is probably the best paid, Mourinho is not the only high-profile football figure associated with the controversial channel, as former players Stan Collymore and Peter Schmeichel also work for RT, as do several politicians, including George Galloway and Alex Salmond.
Former Scottish National Party leader Salmond faced similar criticism when he became a presenter for RT last year.
He told Press Association Sport: “It’s not just MPs. Leading sports figures and commentators need to reflect carefully on whether they want to be associated with Putin’s propaganda machine.
“RT has repeatedly conned viewers with a veneer of respectability, while taking its orders from the Kremlin.
“Serious questions are already being asked about participation in the Russian-hosted World Cup. I would urge leading football figures to rethink — not least after this week’s revelations — whether their punditry on Putin’s mouthpiece is appropriate.”
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