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Volume 10 No. 25
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Ban On Poppies To Be Scrapped In Major Victory For England

The ban on poppies being worn during England and other home nations' matches will be "scrapped in a major victory for the British game," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. A "climbdown" by FIFA will allow all four countries to commemorate Armistice Day during int'l week in November without being punished for doing so, including at a planned Wembley friendly between England and Germany. The FA and its Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts "were fined over their remembrance activities last year, despite having previously been permitted to mark the occasion." Following a backlash against FIFA's change of stance -- which the PM branded "utterly outrageous" -- and a set of appeals which "threatened to go all the way" to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the world governing body finally agreed to allow countries to commemorate "a significant national or international event" (TELEGRAPH, 9/25). The BBC's Richard Conway reported FIFA is understood to have sent out a draft proposal to its member nations last week with "revised provisions that could see the poppy permitted if opposing teams and the competition organiser for the relevant match both accept its use in advance." The new law is "expected to be passed" in time for November's int'l games. England players are "now expected to either wear armbands with a poppy on them or have the poppy embroidered on their shirts in the same way as Premier League teams." The FA declined to comment until the decision to change the game's laws has been "fully ratified" (BBC, 9/25). In London, Martha Kelner reported FIFA's new proposal concerning "political" symbols on shirts "amounts to a relaxation over the rules on poppies." A ban remains on slogans or images "related to individual people or groups, political parties or governing bodies." It is noted that "when commemorating a significant national or international event, the sensibilities of the opposing team [including their supporters] and the general public should be carefully considered." The English and Scottish FAs appealed the fines totaling £51,000 ($68,697) for displaying poppies last year. Those fines have reportedly "not yet been paid and will be wiped" if the proposed change to the rule is approved by the FIFA and the Int'l FA Board (GUARDIAN, 9/24).