John Giles gives his take on the poppy disagreement in international football

He was speaking to Off The Ball


Picture by Nick Potts PA Wire/PA Images

John Giles believes the poppy should be allowed to be displayed after FIFA refused to let English and Scottish players wear poppies on their shirts for Remembrance Day.

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.

The FA then intervened to state that England's footballers can wear black armbands bearing poppies in their November 11th match against Scotland.

John feels the poppy should be allowed, given the importance of the sacrifice made by Allied soldiers in two World Wars, including the defeat of Nazism in World War II.

"I think they should use the poppy. It's FIFA who are actually stopping it and I heard someone on the other day saying 'we have wars around the world and we can't have a political situation,'" said John on Off The Ball.

"But the Remembrance Day is for two World Wars. And I think without the contribution from Great Britain, a lot of the countries who we have in Europe could be under different rule altogether.

"That was to free the world. In the second World War, imagine if we were ruled by the Nazis and Hitler after that! A lot of people gave their lives from Great Britain, America - and from around Europe - but particularly from those countries. And Irishmen as well.

"I can't see the problem of wearing a poppy on an armband."

And John says it must be remembered that the poppy is not celebrating war, rather honouring those who died.

"That's what the poppies are about. It's actually to honour the dead. It's not to brag about a war or anything like that. It's a Remembrance Day," he said, adding that "every country has the right to honour their dead".

"[For example], Russia lost a lot of people in the war and if they want to have a Remembrance Day, why not? I don't see why it's doing any harm.

"This is to honour the dead and an awful lot of people were killed in the two wars - British people for example, who helped to free the world of very, very bad people."