The Dutch FA faces questions over participation in the next World Cup, hosted by Russia
The Dutch FA faces questions over participation in the next World Cup, hosted by Russia Getty

Football chiefs in the Netherlands are facing questions over whether the national team should boycott the next World Cup in Russia in protest at the MH17 air disaster.

Public anger is running high in the Netherlands about the deaths of almost 200 Dutch nationals including many children and delays in returning victims' bodies to grieving families.

Netherlands finished third in the latest edition of the World Cup in Brazil, but now the possibility has been mooted that Oranje could boycott Russia in four years' time.

The Dutch football federation (KNVB) admitted it has faced the question several times. In response the ruling body refused to rule it out, saying only that it was "too soon" to make a decision.

"Different people have asked the KNVB questions about (taking part in) the 2018 World Cup in Russia," said the federation.

"We realise that a future World Cup in Russia will be very emotive for all football lovers and relatives of the dead in the Netherlands. During these black days the KNVB is with the families, friends and football clubs of the victims.

"Silence over this immense loss is the current priority. The KNVB thinks that it is more appropriate for discussion about the future World Cup in Russia to be held at a later date, when the investigation of the disaster is completed."

Around 193 of the 298 victims on board MH17 were Dutch. The first bodies from the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight have arrived back in the Netherlands.

Forty coffins have since arrived in Eindhoven following public outcry in Holland over the time taken to repatriate the deceased from the crash scene in eastern Ukraine.

Both sides in the conflict between Ukraine and pro-Kremlin militia have denied responsibility for the downing of flight MH17 with suspected surface to air missiles.