England players will now be allowed to wear poppies during their friendly match with Spain on Saturday after football’s governing body FIFA agreed a compromise deal with the English FA.
The deal means that England players can wear embroidered poppies on their black armbands to mark Remembrance Day, though not on their kits as originally requested. FIFA banned the team from wearing poppies on their shirts, stating that it contravened their rules concerning the placement of political or religious symbols on kits.
FIFA’s decision caused controversy and anger throughout the UK and enraged British Prime Minister David Cameron. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Cameron said: “The idea that wearing a poppy to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom is a political act is absurd.”
That same day, two members of the English Defense League, a far right ‘political’ group that make the British National Party look like Gandhi, did their best to contradict the Prime Minister. Climbing to the top of FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich they displayed a banner condemning FIFA and promoting themselves.
On Thursday, FIFA eventually bowed to the mounting pressure – which included a ‘strongly worded’ letter from Prince William – and reached the compromise with the FA. Along with the embroidered armbands, poppy wreaths will also be placed on the pitch during England’s national anthem and a one minute silence observed in the pre-kick off presentation.
By Rebecca Jones – Twitter: RebeccaEJones