Australia would consider boycotting the 2018 World Cup in response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. 

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop raised the prospect of the Socceroos missing the global football competition when discussing further sanctions the country could take against Russia.       

"There are a whole range of further options of action that could be taken. The boycott of the World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter," Bishop told reporters in Canberra.

Australia has joined the United States, Canada and several European Union member states in expelling Russian diplomats following the chemical nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

Skripal, a former Russian spy who worked as a double agent for the UK and moved to the country in 2010 as part of a spy swap, was found slumped over on a bench in Salisbury. 

Russia has denied all involvement in the incident. 

Julie Bishop has not excluded a World Cup boycott. Photo: AFPJulie Bishop has not excluded a World Cup boycott. Photo: AFP

"Together with the United Kingdom and other allies and partners, Australia is taking action in response to the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury, UK," Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in a statement.

"Two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers will be expelled by the Australian government for actions inconsistent with their status, pursuant to the Vienna Conventions."

Australia had already imposed a series of sanctions against Russia following the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 and the Russian annexing of parts of Ukraine in 2014.

Travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Flight MH17 was shot down in 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew. Most of the victims were Dutch and 28 were Australian.

International prosecutors concluded the airliner was shot down by a missile fired from a launcher brought into Ukraine from Russia and located in a village held by pro-Russian rebels, contradicting Moscow’s suggestion that Ukraine’s military brought down the plane.