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Players display Falklands banner

THE Foreign Office is ­refusing to kick off a row over the Falklands Islands after the Argentinian football squad unfurled a banner in support of them returning to South America.

The squad had shown the banner bearing the message "the Malvinas (Falklands) are Argentinian" before a World Cup warm-up match against Slovenia. The Argentinian side are among the favourites for the tournament which begins on Thursday.

A Foreign Office spokesman yesterday declined to fan the flames of the ongoing territorial dispute. He said: "We think the World Cup should be about sport and not politics."

It came as pressure grew on world football's governing body Fifa, following allegations of corruption from the Qatar delegation when bidding to host the event in 2022.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan has criticised Eastwood Labour MP Jim Murphy, who called yesterday for the organisation to speak up about Qatar.

The shadow international development spokesman has been campaigning to improve the rights of the country's workers.

He said: "If Mr Murphy had made contact I could have told him that I have had discussions with Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners' Rights, and this culminated in a letter to the Qatar authorities offering practical support."

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