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FIFA To Lift Poppy Ban

FIFA has backed down in its row with home nation football associations over the wearing of poppies by players in international matches.

FIFA has backed down in its row with home nation football associations over the wearing of poppies by players in international matches.

Last year, football's world governing body fined England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for their use of the poppy to commemorate Armistice Day, as FIFA saw it as a "political symbol".

FIFA is understood to have sent out a draft proposal last week to its member nations.

The revised provisions from the proposal could see the poppy permitted if both teams and the competition organiser for the match both accept its use in advance.

Sports Minister Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: "I am pleased that it appears that FIFA is finally going to apply common sense and change its position on poppies.

"It is completely right that footballers and fans alike should be able to wear poppies with pride, as a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our servicemen and women."

The Royal British Legion Director General, Charles Byrne said: "We welcome the move by FIFA towards lifting their ban on displaying the poppy.

"The poppy is a national symbol that has always represented Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.

"It holds deep meaning for millions of people all over the Commonwealth.

"The red poppy has no political, religious or commercial meaning. The decision to wear it is a personal choice for both players and spectators.”

England and Scotland players wore the poppy on black armbands last November when they met in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Wales and Northern Ireland were also fined for displaying it in their stadiums.

The ensuing row drew criticism from the Prime Minister, with Theresa May calling FIFA's stance "utterly outrageous".

UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said at the time: "It is disappointing that FIFA has not recognised 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."

The new law is expected to be passed in time for November's international games and Remembrance weekend - with games to be played between 6 and 14 November.

England's game during this time will be against Germany at Wembley. 

It is understood the German FA does not object to the use of the poppy.

The FA have declined to comment until the decision to change the game's laws has been fully ratified.

It is believed that last year's fines levied against the UK associations will now not need to be paid.

Why Did FIFA Ban The Poppy?

The poppy was banned due to the world governing body's rule for the game, specifically Law 4. 

Law 4 states that: "The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.

"The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has political, religious or personal slogans or, statements or images will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA." The poppy was seen as a political statement by FIFA.

However, the proposed changes to the rules mean that poppies will be allowed in future, so long as teams get their opponents' permission and inform the match organisers.

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