Poppies shouldn't be seen in football as political symbols

Jo CoxJo Cox
Jo Cox
Within the pages of FIFA's disciplinary code, published in 2011, there is a section entitled Provoking The General Public.

I would suggest that FIFA has indeed provoked the general public, first by telling national football teams they couldn’t wear the poppy emblem during matches played on the remembrance weekend, then adding insult to injury by not only fining England and Scotland for flouting the directive, but now by saying they’re going to investigate the remembrance build-up events before and during matches.

To be fair, the rules are made by the ultra-conservative International Football Association Board, which is a separate entity, but FIFA has 50 per cent of the seats on the board so it’s not like the powers-that-be have protested too hard over the decision.

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And now its disciplinary committee, the one with the 2011 code that bears the name of a certain Sepp Blatter, that bastion of ethics and conduct, is now going to assess the display of poppies on big screens, the minute silence, playing the Last Post and handing out poppy t-shirts to the crowd.

The booing by supporters during the national anthems and items thrown on to the pitch, allegedly from the section where Scotland fans were sat, is also understood to be under review.

Throwing stuff is never okay, let’s face it.

But if booing was a sanctionable offence, I think there’d be fair section of the Fratton End that’d be done after last weekend’s shenanigans.

FIFA said reports stating it had banned the poppy being worn on shirts were a ‘distortion of the facts’, but seeing that it’s now fining the teams and opening these investigations, it seems to me to point to facts that weren’t so distorted after all.

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I suppose it all comes down to whether the poppy should be regarded as a political symbol, which is banned by the IFAB.

I’m not sure how something that has come to symbolise the people of all races and nations (poppies are sent to some 120 countries as a mark of respect and remembrance) can possibly be political.


Hearing the evidence coming out at the Jo Cox murder trial is utterly harrowing.

The defendant, Thomas Mair, has pleaded not guilty and the court case is ongoing, but we can talk about the details the court has heard already without risk of prejudicing the jury.

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All the witnesses have described a frenzied attack on Jo Cox, but one of the things that will remain with me was how the MP, attacked outside her constituency office, told her staff to get out of her attacker’s way and to let her be hurt, not them.

I’m glad they didn’t listen. Her assistant beat the assailant with her handbag and a passer-by tried to intervene and got stabbed for his efforts too, the Old Bailey heard.

This is a case that should outrage decent people.


I don’t really understand what’s going on with the Home Office’s historical sexual abuse inquiry.

Multiple changes of chairman, allegations of cover-ups and now the largest victims’ group in the inquiry has left the process, calling it a circus.

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It’s a damning indictment of the inquiry, because the Shirley Oaks Survivors’ Association represents the voices of 600 victims of abuse who lived in children’s homes in Lambeth.

The association says the inquiry is not a genuine attempt to look at the truth of what happened in Lambeth in the latter part of last century, which is only one of 13 areas the inquiry is looking into.

The association says the inquiry has lurched from disaster to disaster and I have to say I agree.