FA confirms England can wear armbands bearing poppies

FIFA had been refusing to let English and Scottish players wear poppies on their shirts


Picture by Nick Potts PA Wire/PA Images

England's footballers can wear black armbands bearing poppies in their November 11th match against Scotland, the FA has said.

Even the British Prime Minister has waded into the row over the World Cup qualifier, calling FIFA's earlier decision to ban poppies from the pitch as "utterly outrageous".

Now, the FA has intervened, saying in a statement: "We do not believe it represents a political, religious or commercial message."

It added: The FA intend to pay appropriate tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by having the England team wear black armbands bearing poppies in our fixture on Armistice Day."

During Prime Minister's Questions earlier, Theresa May lambasted FIFA, saying that it should "get its own house in order" before telling the country's footballers what to do.

She said: "Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security. I think it is absolutely right that they should be able to do so.

"I think a clear message is going from this house we want our players to be able to wear those poppies and I have to say to FIFA that before they start telling us what to do they jolly well ought to sort their own house out."

FIFA had been refusing to let English and Scottish players wear poppies on their shirts for Armistice Day match.

Under a rule in the 100-page FIFA Equipment Regulations, players are forbidden from wearing anything that could be construed as a political or religious statement on their shirts.

A FIFA spokesman had said: "FIFA fully respects the significance of commemorating Remembrance Day on 11 November each year.

"The Laws of the Game are overseen by the International Football Association Board (composed of the four British FAs and FIFA) and applicable to all 211 member associations.

"The relevant Law 4, para. 4, clearly states that the players equipment should not carry any political, religious or commercial messages.

"The Laws are applied uniformly in the event of similar requests by any member association to commemorate similar historical events."

In 2011, England players were allowed to wear black armbands with poppies on during a November 11th match against Spain after the Government and Prince William successfully argued the emblem was not political.

However, a request for the same approach this time fell flat and the outright ban currently stands.

Damian Collins, the chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has written to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, urging him to reconsider the ruling.