England and Scotland players to wear poppies in defiance of Fifa's ruling

England and Scotland players will wear black armbands with poppies on them during their World Cup qualifier despite being warned not to by Fifa.

The qualifier is being played on November 11, Armistice Day, and the teams wish to wear poppies as a mark of respect to Britain's armed forces. However, Fifa's rules state players' equipment should not carry any commercial, political or religious messages.

Fatma Samoura
Fifa's Fatma Samoura has made it clear Fifa are able to punish the teams for wearing the poppies, even giving points deductions (Ennio Leanza/AP)

Fifa general secretary Fatma Samoura has insisted there will be no exceptions to this rule and warned Prime Minister Theresa May not to interfere after she had labelled the world governing body's stance "utterly outrageous".

"We fully respect the laws of the game and take our founding role on the International Football Association Board extremely seriously," the Football Association said in a statement. "The poppy is an important symbol of remembrance and we do not believe it represents a political, religious or commercial message, nor does it relate to any one historical event."

A debate over this same issue occurred in 2011 and the FA said they would act in accordance with the agreement they made with Fifa then, when black armbands with the poppy were be allowed to be worn. The Scottish FA released an almost identical statement shortly afterwards.

Fifa's Samoura has been adamant that the poppies would not allowed.

"You could make many exceptions. Britain is not the only country that has been suffering from the result of war," she said. "Syria is an example. My own continent has been torn by war for years. Why are we doing exceptions for just one country and not the rest of the world?"

Tottenham Hotspur crest is seen as a member of the British Royal Legion adds a poppy to a wall of poppies
Premier League clubs all let their players wear poppies, with many doing extra work to help the British Royal Legion (John Walton/PA)

When asked whether the teams should be punished Samoura said it was "not really her ambition to punish anybody" but that they must "recognise they are part of the rules of the game" and "should be ready to face any kind of sanctions."

She added it would be up to the match commissioners - Fifa's representatives at international games - to make a complaint. A decision on punishment, which could be a points deduction, would be made later by a disciplinary panel.

Read Full Story