England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales have been fined by FIFA for displaying the poppy during World Cup qualifying matches in November.
England has incurred a fine of 45,000 Swiss francs, (58,551.75 CAN) while Scotland and Wales received a fine of 20,000 francs (26,023.00 CAN) and Northern Ireland was fined 15,000 (19,518.68 CAN).
The fines come as a result of English and Scottish players wearing armbands featuring the poppy when they played at Wembley on Nov. 11. There was also a display of poppies on a big screen, a minute’s silence, playing of the Last Post and poppy T-shirts handed to the crowd.
Additionally, Wales and Northern Ireland’s games also featured the poppy in the pitch or in the stands. Northern Ireland’s game also featured a minute’s silence and a wreath laying.
According to FIFA, “The Disciplinary Committee has taken these decisions after analyzing all of the specific circumstances of each case.”
“With these decisions, it is not our intention to judge or question specific commemorations as we fully respect the significance of such moments in the respective countries, each one of them with its own history and background. However, keeping in mind that the rules need to be applied in a neutral and fair manner across FIFA’s 211 member associations, the display, among others, of any political or religious symbol, is strictly prohibited. In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport, nothing else,” said the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Claudio Sulser.
According to several British news outlets, United Kingdom’s Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has slammed FIFA for it’s decision.
“It is disappointing that FIFA has not recognized the sentiment of the poppy, which is not a political symbol.”
”Poppies are a poignant tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, and footballers and fans alike should be able to wear them with pride,” stated Crouch.
Several other officials have also commented on their disappointment of the decision.
According to BBC, England’s Football Association has decided to appeal the fine. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have not yet decided.