SBD/November 10, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

FIFA Reverses Course, Allows England Players To Wear Poppies On Uniform

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who have died in the line of duty
FIFA “bowed to popular pressure last night by allowing England players to wear poppies on their black armbands this weekend after personal interventions” by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William, according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. FIFA’s rules “prevent symbols with political, religious or commercial connotations from being displayed on official uniforms and equipment.” FIFA by letting the players wear poppies on their armbands “allows the game’s world governing body to preserve the letter of its law while acknowledging the feeling in Britain.” Cameron in a letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter wrote, “This as an act of national remembrance. … I can assure you that there are no political connotations whatsoever to wearing a poppy.” In addition, Prince William wrote a “strongly worded letter” to Blatter. He “expressed his dismay at the poppy ban and asked for ‘an exception in this special circumstance’” (LONDON TIMES, 11/10). In London, Jamie Jackson writes the move is “understood to have been made after discussions involving” England FA General Secretary Alex Horne and FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke. Cameron previously had said that he “would support the England team if they defied FIFA by wearing poppies on their shirts” (GUARDIAN, 11/10).

SETTING A BAD PRECEDENT? In London, James Lawton writes under the header, “FIFA Should Not Have Caved In. The U-Turn Is Complete Poppycock.” Lawton: “What happens when another nation, with its own idea of what constitutes righteous national pride, decides it feels strongly about a certain issue, and the thing it wants to commemorate is for a jaundiced neighbour the recalling of some shameful political or military horror?” (London INDEPENDENT, 11/10).
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