FIFA British teams fined for poppy war tribute

FIFA rules ban "political" symbols on shirts during official games but the British nations denied they had breached the ban.

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Poppy armbands worn by England's Kyle Walker (right) and Scotland's Leigh Griffiths at Wembley on November 11, 2016 play

Poppy armbands worn by England's Kyle Walker (right) and Scotland's Leigh Griffiths at Wembley on November 11, 2016

(AFP)
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FIFA fined England 45,000 Swiss francs ($43,850, 42,000 euros) on Monday for wearing a poppy tribute to British war dead during their November 11 World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

Scotland were fined 20,000 Swiss francs, while Wales and Northern Ireland were given 20,000 and 15,000 Swiss franc fines respectively for making their own tributes.

FIFA rules ban "political" symbols on shirts during official games but the British nations denied they had breached the ban.

Both sets of players and England's manager Gareth Southgate wore black armbands bearing the poppies at the Wembley game which England won 3-0.

The qualifier was staged on Armistice Day when Britain traditionally pays tribute to all of the country's war dead.

England's Football Association has already said it will contest any fine and believes its "legal position is right and our moral position is right".

FIFA disciplinary committee chairman Claudio Sulser stated it was not their "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".

But in a statement he explained they had issued the fines as "rules need to be applied in a neutral and fair manner across FIFA's 211 member associations".

He added: "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."

FIFA rules ban "political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images" on player kits.

Wales and Northern Ireland opted against allowing their players to wear black armbands with poppy symbols.

Instead, Wales laid a wreath beside the pitch and fans held up a poppy mosaic prior to their 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Serbia in Cardiff.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland held a minute's silence, laid wreaths and displayed a poppy mosaic ahead of their 4-0 win over Azerbaijan.

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