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Public outcry has FIFA change stance on poppies

After a sea of public outcry and backlash, the governing body of international soccer, FIFA, has changed its stance on teams displaying the poppy in honour of Remembrance Day.

According to the new rule, proposed in late September, FIFA will allow poppies to be worn, provided the opposing team, and organizing body gives their approval before the match.

The poppy was previously deemed a “political symbol,” all political and religious symbols had been banned by FIFA at the time.

Last year, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales were fined by the organization for displaying the poppy during World Cup qualifying matches in November. The players wore armbands featuring the poppy, displaying poppies on big screens, playing the last Post, handing out poppy T-shirts on the pitch or stands.

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 Football Associations of the four nations came out with a joint statement on Oct. 30, stating they “welcome” the changes.

The new law has tightened the definition of political symbols as those that celebrate any living or dead person, political parties or groups, local or national governments, discriminatory organizations, groups who offend a notable amount of people, and any specific political event or act.

The FA’s joint statement goes on to say:

“It was important that clarity was brought to this issue as it affects many football matches/competitions throughout the world and is particularly helpful in relation to remembrance and poppies.

“In any year when there are international matches in the week leading up to and including Remembrance Sunday, it is the intention of all four home nations to seek permission from the opposition team and FIFA (as the authority responsible for those matches) to display the poppy on armbands.”

England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales are now set to request permission from FIFA to wear the poppies during November’s international matches.

England is set to play Germany on Nov. 10 for an international friendly match. According to an article from The Guardian published in September, Germany will support English players displaying poppies.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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