World Football Threatens England with Punishment for Minute’s Silence and Poppies for the Fallen

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against England and Scotland for displaying poppies on their kits during a World Cup qualifier on Armistice Day.

The scope of investigation, by world football’s international governing body, could even extend to the minute’s silence held to remember war dead before the match, The Telegraph reports.

Fifa rules forbid “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” and national associations are obliged to make an official request to have a minute’s silence before a game.

England and Scotland had been warned about possible consequences before the game but decided to commemorate their fallen regardless.

Greg Clarke, the Football Association (FA) chairman, said in the build-up to the game that it would be “inconceivable” for the England team not to wear poppies.

A Fifa spokesman said: “We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened on this matter. We cannot comment further at this stage.”

They would not “speculate on any outcome or provide an estimated timeline.”

In a picture taken on November 11, 2016 Poppy armbands worn by England's defender Kyle Walker (R) and Scotland's forward Leigh Griffiths (L) to comemorate Armistace Day are seen as the players argue during a World Cup 2018 qualification match between England and Scotland at Wembley stadium in London. FIFA on November 17, 2016 launched a "disciplinary" case against England and Scotland for wearing poppy armbands in a tribute to British war dead. The world body did not say that the armbands breached its ban on wearing political symbols but the case is another step on the road to sanctions against the two countries. / AFP / Adrian DENNIS / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

In a picture taken on November 11, 2016 Poppy armbands worn by England’s defender Kyle Walker (R) and Scotland’s forward Leigh Griffiths (L) to commemorate Armistice Day (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

“We think they’re interpreting the rules wrongly. This is a law-of-the-game issue, not a Fifa competition issue,” the FA chief executive Martin Glenn told The Guardian last week, in the wake of the game.

“So, I’m very confident that our legal position’s right, our moral position’s certainly right, and – you know what – there are bigger things in the game for Fifa to worry about,” he said.

“We’ll contest it strongly because we believe – we’ve had QC opinion on this – our case is absolutely rock solid.”

The most likely outcome of the investigation is that both England and Scotland will receive a fine; however, Fifa could dock points from the teams, damaging their World Cup campaigns.

Fifa had also earlier opened proceedings against the Republic of Ireland for wearing shirts marking 100 years since the Easter Rising for a friendly against Switzerland in March.


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