British Minister urges FIFA to drop charges over remembrance poppies

London, Nov 27 (IANS) British Conservative Party Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has asserted that FIFA should drop disciplinary action against England and Scotland for wearing remembrance poppies during their World Cup football qualifier on Armistice Day.

There was widespread dissent after the football associations of both countries were charged by the sport’s world governing body for wearing armbands decorated with the poignant symbol commemorating British casualties in the two World Wars during their November 11 game at the Wembley Stadium here.

“I urge FIFA to see sense in this and withdraw the threat of sanctions. If a player wants to wear a poppy, they should be able to do so, as should fans,” Bradley told BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday.

According to FIFA, the national teams of England and Scotland have violated its rule 4.4 which concern political, religious or commercial messages. FIFA’s stance on the issue caused uproar in the build-up to, and during remembrance weekend.

England and Scotland players defied the governing body by wearing popies on their armbands during the game which England won 3-0.

The Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association (IFA) have also been charged with the same offence by FIFA.

All four nations now face the possibility of a fine and the deduction of World Cup qualifying points.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has also decried FIFA’s diktat.

“Our football players want to recognise 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.”

–IANS

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