England to wear poppies on armbands as Fifa relaxes rule
World governing body allows England to display poppies on their black armbands during Spain friendly
England players will wear poppies on their black armbands in Saturday’s friendly against Spain after Fifa bowed to pressure and agreed to relax its stance on the issue.
The compromise comes after both Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William added their voices to calls for football’s governing body to allow England to display the symbol of remembrance on their jerseys during Saturday’s clash.
Fifa’s rules state that national shirts should not carry political, religious or commercial messages – but the Zurich-based organisation wrote to The Football Association on Wednesday to confirm that it has agreed to allow poppies to be worn on the black armbands.
“The FA can confirm that Fifa has today agreed that the England team will now be permitted to wear a poppy on the black armbands the players will wear during Saturday’s match with Spain,” read an FA statement.
“While continuing to adhere to the Laws of the Game, wearing the poppy on the armband does ensure the poppy will be visible throughout the game.
“The FA welcomes Fifa’s decision and thanks them for agreeing to this.
“Earlier today, The FA announced extensive additional plans as to how they will support Royal British Legion in the wearing of the poppy.”
The news comes after Fifa confirmed that two protestors from the English Defence League were on the roof of their headquarters in Zurich to protest Fifa’s refusal to lift the ban.
Mr Cameron had earlier said he would write to Fifa asking it to reconsider the ban. “It seems outrageous,” said the Prime Minister. “I hope Fifa will reconsider.
“The idea that wearing a poppy to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom is a political act is absurd. Wearing a poppy is an act of huge respect and national pride.”