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Poppies don’t appeal to FIFA

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Since publication of this story on 7th November FIFA has agreed to a compromise. Home nations players will be permitted to wear a black armband with a poppy stitched on (9th November 2011).

FIFA has told the English and Welsh FAs that their national sides cannot wear poppies in the upcoming friendlies against Spain and Norway. International football’s governing body ruled the poppy out and say that players’ equipment “should not carry any political, religious or commercial messages”.

England face world champions Spain at Wembley on Saturday – the day before Rememberence Sunday. Because of this the FA had wanted the Three Lions to wear the Armistice Day emblem as a sign of respect.

But FIFA declined the FA’s request and reiterated its rules in a statement on Saturday: “FIFA’s regulations regarding players’ equipment are that they should not carry any political, religious or commercial messages. FIFA has 208 Member Associations and the same regulations are applied globally, and uniformly, in the event of similar requests by other nations to commemorate historical events.”

The FA said that they have not yet given up the possibility of wearing poppies and remain in “dialogue” with FIFA over the issue. The FA also confirmed that the senior squad’s training kit will carry the emblem and be auctioned off for an armed forces charity.

The Welsh FA (FAW) confirmed it too had been in contact with FIFA after the world governing body’s decision. The FAW had planned on Gary Speed’s men playing with a poppy stitched into their strip on Saturday when Wales face Norway at the Cardiff City Stadium. The FAW said they still hope that FIFA will lift its in-game poppy ban having made “further representations”. A final decision is expected tomorrow (Tuesday 8th November).

The first Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Day took place on 11th November 1921 and has remained in the nation’s calendar ever since. The day was inspired by John McCrae’s poem In Flanders’ Fields which was written following his experiences in the fields of Belgium and northern France during the First World War.

A spokesperson for the Royal British Legion said: “We appreciate that showing support is not always possible under some regulations and we would never seek to impose ourselves in these situations.”

FIFA has confirmed that both nations will be allowed to hold a minute’s silence before kick-off on Saturday.

Thanks to Jose Maria Cuellar for the image used in this story.

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