JOSE Mourinho’s decision to work as a World Cup pundit for Kremlin-backed television channel RT has been strongly criticised by British MPs following the Salisbury poisoning attack.
The Russian channel announced Mourinho as its main pundit for Russia 2018 a day after the incident but the Manchester United manager has repeatedly refused to answer any questions about the role.
“To my mind, this is blood money, paid directly from the Russian state coffers,” one Welsh MP, Chris Bryant, said in a statement.
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Russian president Vladimir Putin, and on Monday in parliament several MPs called for its UK broadcasting licence to be withdrawn.
Mourinho is not the only high-profile football figure associated with the controversial channel, which also employs former England striker Stan Collymore and treble-winning United keeper Peter Schmeichel.
Bryant’s message was backed by fellow Welsh Labour MP Stephen Doughty. “Leading sports figures and commentators need to reflect carefully on whether they want to be associated with Putin’s propaganda machine,” he said. “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.”