Fifa rejects The FA’s appeal over poppies on England shirts
Football's governing body says lifting ban would "open the door to similar initiatives from all over the world"
Fifa has again rejected the Football Association’s request for the governing body to allow England to wear poppies on their shirts during Saturday’s friendly with Spain at Wembley.
Sports minister Hugh Robertson confirmed on Tuesday that he had written to Fifa to appeal its decision not to let both England and Wales display poppies on their jerseys.
But a “final statement” from Fifa regarding the matter read: “We regret to inform you that accepting such initiatives would open the door to similar initiatives from all over the world, jeopardising the neutrality of football.
“Therefore, we confirm herewith that the suggested embroidery on the match shirt cannot be authorised.
“There are a variety of options where The FA can continue supporting the cause of Remembrance. One of them already was approved by FIFA, the Period of Silence.”
Fifa’s rules state that national shirts should not carry political, religious or commercial messages.
It is now understood that England players will wear black armbands during the match, and will warm up in training tops displaying poppies before the game. There will also be a period of silence before the match.
Robertson’s letter read to Fifa read: “I am writing to you in support of requests from The Football Association and The Football Association of Wales to ask you to consider allowing the England and Wales football teams to wear poppies on their shirts for Saturday’s international matches, taking place a day before Remembrance Sunday.
“We fully understand, and respect, Fifa’s rules on its member nations not adorning their shirts with “˜commercial’, “˜political’, or “˜religious’ symbols or messages. The FA and FAW do not intend to contravene these rules.
“However, the British public feel very strongly about this issue which is seen as an act of national remembrance to commemorate those who gave their lives in the service of their country.
“It is not religious or political in any way. Wearing a poppy is a display of national pride, just like wearing your country’s football shirt.”