Anger at FIFA's England poppies ban
Published : 05 Nov 2011 11:46:57
War veterans have condemned FIFA for refusing to allow the England team to wear poppies on their shirts when they play Spain next Saturday.
The Football Association had wanted players to display the Armistice Day emblem on their kit on the eve of Remembrance Sunday, but FIFA rules mean no changes can be made to official kit. George Batt, general secretary of the Normandy Veterans Association, condemned the decision, describing it as "disgraceful".
The 86-year-old, who fought in the Second World War, said: "I don't really understand it. I can't see any harm in wearing a poppy. You surely don't need rules and regulations in FIFA like this. It's so sad."
He added: "I would think about 90% of the population wear them. I'm lost for words. I think it's a bit childish because, after all is said and done, if it wasn't for us blokes FIFA wouldn't be here. They wouldn't be playing football."
Despite the decision the squad will wear poppies on their kit on Armistice Day when they train at Wembley ahead of the match, the FA said. The special training kit will then be auctioned for charity.
A spokesman said: "The FA are proud supporters of our armed forces and we are only too pleased to recognise those that have sacrificed their lives for the nation. The England senior team will proudly wear poppies on their training kit and all our staff and representative teams will stop to observe the Armistice Day silence."
The Poppy Appeal, which is in its 90th year, is run by the Royal British Legion and money raised helps thousands of serving and ex-service men and women and their families. The appeal raised Â£36 million in 2010 and is hoping to reach Â£40 million this year.
A spokesman for the charity said: "The Royal British Legion is grateful for the widespread support it enjoys from the sporting community. Once again this year the support has been phenomenal.
"However, we appreciate that showing support is not always possible under some regulations and we would never seek to impose ourselves in these situations."
England will face World Cup winners Spain in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.