Football bosses spark fury with blanket poppy ban


Football’s governing body has provoked anger after banning England and Scotland players from wearing poppies during a qualifier next week.
FIFA has told players that they can’t put poppies on their shirts for the World Cup qualifier.
According to officials, poppies could be seen as a political statement and so will not be allowed for the game on Armistice Day.
Poppies are worn as a lasting tribute to the fallen; as a way of saying thank you to armed services personnel who have lost their lives battling for their country.
But FIFA say that the symbol is political and cannot be worn on anyone’s shirts during the game.
Now, campaigners, veterans and the Royal British Legion are urging FIFA to recognise that poppies are not a political statement, but a sign of pride in the sacrifice servicemen and women have made in wars gone by.
There is, however, not long left to persuade FIFA to change its mind, given that the match takes place on November 11, just two days before Remembrance Sunday.
While poppies were not worn the last time an England international fell so close to Remembrance Sunday, a compromise was struck. Instead, the poppy was worn on black armbands, rather than players’ shirts.
That time, FIFA decided on a compromise because Prince William became involved and asked them to rethink.
It is not clear yet whether Prince William will decide to intervene once more.
So far, FIFA has yet to make an official statement on its decision.
But, as a matter of course, the body does not allow anything on players’ shirts which could be deemed to be a commercial, political or religious symbol.
Because FIFA is the World Cup organiser, it sets the rules for any games, rather than the English Football Association.
The FA does not tend to go against decisions made by FIFA.
If players feel so strongly about it that they decide to wear poppies despite what FIFA says, the FA could face a fine or other sanctions.
Falklands war veteran Simon Weston has urged the FA to simply pay any fine rather than fail to wear poppies in remembrance of fallen personnel.
He said: “Both those countries took part in both World Wars and should take the lead. They should pay any fine FIFA has to give them. This is not a political gesture.”


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