Football in No Man’s Land

Fifa’s ban on World Cup qualifier players donning the poppy symbol is unjustified, argues Amanda Jane Yap.

An uproar ensued during the World Cup qualifying match at the Wembley Stadium. This coincided with Remembrance Day when England and Scotland players were issued a disciplinary penalty for wearing poppy-symbol armbands on the field.

FIFA defends this action as players are not allowed to wear political symbols on the pitch, defining the poppy as one of them. The Prime Minister has called this ‘outrageous’, while the Football Association of England and Scotland has said it will defy the ban. It is both unnecessary and disrespectful for disciplinary action to be meted out.

“The English and Scottish players should be saluted, not reprimanded”

It brings patriotism to a whole new level when the representing players don’t forget the tragedies of war while on the world stage. By wearing the poppies, they join the nation in mourning for the heroic lives lost in war.

This issue of poppy-wearing has been blown out of proportion. The footballers have the right to commemorate war heroes however they like, and no regulation should infringe on that right.

Beyond this, it is a decades-old tradition that should not be disregarded because it reflects our tacit acknowledgment surrounding the devastation of war and the need to prevent it.

“The issue of poppy-wearing has been blown out of proportion”

Remembrance Day reminds us that what we enjoy today – peace, prosperity and freedom – was bought with the blood of the Armed Forces who fought so valiantly. International organisations like Fifa should not forget this. The English and Scottish players should be saluted, not reprimanded, for donning the poppy.

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