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Thursday 21 June 2018

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Home nations greet FIFA U-turn on poppies and confirm plans to wear them again

All four home nations were fined by FIFA last year for wearing poppies in international matches
All four home nations were fined by FIFA last year for wearing poppies in international matches

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will ask their opponents and FIFA for permission to display the poppy on armbands during their games in the days before and on Remembrance Sunday.

In a joint statement, the FA, FA of Wales, Irish FA and Scottish FA said they "welcome the clarification" on "what can and cannot be worn on players' shirts" which was issued by the game's law-making body the International Football Association Board last month.

"I t was important that clarity was brought to this issue as it affects many football matches/competitions throughout the world and is particularly helpful in relation to remembrance and poppies," the four associations said.

"In any year when there are international matches in the week leading up to and including Remembrance Sunday, it is the intention of all four home nations to seek permission from the opposition team and FIFA to display the poppy on armbands."

Northern Ireland play Switzerland at Windsor Park in the first leg of their World Cup play-off and Scotland host Holland in a friendly at Pittodrie on Thursday, November 9.

England meet Germany at Wembley and Wales travel to Paris to play France in friendlies on Friday, November 10, before Northern Ireland go to Switzerland for their second leg on Remembrance Sunday, November 12.

Last year, all four home nations were fined by football's world governing body FIFA for ignoring a ban on players wearing slogans or symbols which are considered to be personal, political or religious.

Even before those fines were levied, FIFA's stance had provoked a strong response in the UK, with Prime Minister Theresa May describing it as "outrageous" in parliament, and t he FA said it would appeal against the sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA's climbdown, however, means that is now unnecessary and none of the home nations paid its fine.

Poppyscotland, the charity that sells poppies north of the border to support Scottish veterans, said it is "pleased common sense has prevailed".

In a statement, Poppyscotland's chief executive Mark Bibbey said: "The poppy is neither a political, religious nor a commercial symbol and, as we highlighted last year, the basis for the ban was flawed.

"We are very pleased with the outcome and welcome the fact that, subject to agreement of both sides and the match organising authority, those who wish to do so will be permitted to wear a poppy armband for international matches played during the Remembrance period.

"We applaud the Scottish Football Association and the other home nations for their stance on this issue, and for their support."

Press Association

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