Amid outrage, FIFA bans British nations from wearing poppies

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England, Scotland and Wales have had their requests to wear poppies turned down.

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Ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers next week the football associations of all three nations had been locked in talks with FIFA about how they could show support for Armistice Day. 

England host Scotland at Wembley on Nov. 11 and Wales host Serbia in Cardiff on Nov. 12 and all three British nations wanted to wear a poppy on their shirt, as the symbol acts as a reminder of all the British soldiers who have fallen in conflict over the years.

However, despite offering a compromise of a poppy being present on a black armband worn by all players, talks with FIFA broke down as new president Gianni Infantino was concerned about the message it would send to FIFA’s other member nations. The organization has already banned political, religious and commercial messages on shirts.

Now, following the rejection by FIFA, British Prime Minister Theresa May has got involved.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, May called the decision by FIFA “utterly outrageous” and there is a growing sense of outrage in the UK over the move from world soccer’s governing body.

“Our football players want to recognize and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security,” May said. “I think it is absolutely right they should be able to do so. I should say to FIFA before they start telling us what to do they jolly well ought to sort their own house out.”

Back in 2011 former British PM David Cameron and Prince William both urged FIFA to allow England to commemorate Armistice Day and they allowed the Three Lions players to wear a black armband with a poppy on it for their friendly game against Spain.

Infantino is obviously sticking to his guns when it comes to this decision but many are calling for England and Scotland to both wear poppies next Friday when they met, as the threat of a points deduction from FIFA (the highest sanction they can dish out) seems unlikely.

Still, considering how much unrest and outrage this has caused, maybe FIFA would give all three nations the maximum penalty if they defied their orders.