NATIONAL: Fifa backs down on home nations wearing poppies during international games

Fifa has backed down on its row of players wearing poppies. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Fifa has backed down on its row of players wearing poppies. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
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FIFA has backed down in its row with the FA and other home nations over players wearing poppies in international matches.

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were all fined by Fifa for ignoring warnings not to commemorate Armistice Day during their World Cup qualifiers last November.

Fifa’s stance - based on a strict interpretation of its laws against the use of personal, political or religious slogans or symbols - sparked widespread condemnation in Britain.

Prime minister Theresa May called it ‘utterly outrageous’ in Parliament.

But now, 10 months after a Fifa disciplinary panel dished out those fines, football’s world governing body has sent its member associations new guidance on the law.

In the document, which Press Association Sport has seen, Fifa says certain ‘initiatives’ may appear on players’ kits, along with the usual name, number, team crest and so on.

The document does not provide much clarity on what these ‘initiatives’ might be.

But it does say: ‘When commemorating a significant national or international event, the sensibilities of the opposing team (including its supporters) and the general public should be carefully considered.’

What this means in practice, is that England, or any other team that wants to wear poppies on their shirts to mark Armistice Day, can do so, providing they get their opponents’ permission and inform the organisers of the match.