FIFA lifts ban on poppies on football kits

25 September 2017, 03:53

Home nation football teams will be able to wear poppies on their shirts during international matches after FIFA backed down.

Football's world governing body told England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that they were not allowed to incorporate it into their kits during World Cup qualifiers last year.

They said the remembrance symbol was political and banned under FIFA rules that forbid personal, political or religious slogans.

FIFA's stance resulted in widespread condemnation in Britain, with Prime Minister Theresa May calling it "utterly outrageous".

When England and Scotland defied the ruling, by wearing a black armbands with poppy during their match on 11 November, they ended up being fined.

But now, 10 months later, FIFA has sent new guidance that appears to allow symbols and slogans that could be interpreted as political, so long as they are not related to political parties or governments.

A FIFA document describing the rule change says certain "initiatives" may appear on players' kits, along with the usual name, number, and team crest.

The document, which discusses the FIFA rule known as law four, does not provide much clarity on what the "initiatives" might be, but says they cannot breach law 12, which refers to foul play and abusive language.

It also restates law four's existing criteria which prohibit wearing "personal" or "religious... slogans, statements or images".

The document says political slogans are "less clear", adding: "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."

It means that England, or any other team that wants to wear poppies on their shirts, will be able to do so, providing they get their opponents' permission and inform the organisers of the match.

England are due to play two World Cup qualifiers in early October and then may play Germany in a friendly at Wembley in November and it is understood the German FA has given permission for the wearing of poppies.

The £35,000 fine that England received was never paid and now never will be.

It is understood that the smaller fines imposed on the other home football associations will now also not be paid.

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