The Royal British Legion have today written an open letter to the football governing body Fifa asking them to lift its current ban on the England and Scotland national teams wearing a poppy.
The football associations of both teams have vowed to defy the ban and allow their players to wear their poppies on a black armband like they have done in previous games.
At the moment Fifa have said both England and Scotland are banned from wearing a poppy which is used as a a symbol of remembrance, when the teams play each other in a World Cup qualifier on Armistice Day on November 11th. Fifa are insisting that the laws of the game, which prohibit political messages from players’ kit, mean poppies cannot be worn during the fixture.
But in the open letter from the Royal British Legion to Fifa, RBL director general Charles Byrne said: “The red poppy is a symbol of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. It has no political, religious or commercial meaning. Since 1921 the Legion has protected the red poppy from political or partisan misuse and ensured it remains a symbol that can be worn with pride by those of all ages, backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs.
“We ask you, Fifa, in the strongest terms, that you rethink your approach to remembrance and the use of the poppy, and permit players to honour the commitment and sacrifices of the Armed Forces.”
The letter came as Fifa announced it had opened disciplinary proceedings against the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) after the team’s shirts bore a symbol representing the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, during a friendly against Switzerland in March.
Both England and Scotland who plan to defy the ban will face possible sanctions from Fifa.
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