MP helped secure poppy resolution
Published : 09 Nov 2011 22:46:56Rss feed
A Conservative MP who qualified as a referee as a 12-year-old played a key role in securing FIFA's agreement to allow England players to wear poppies on their black armbands on Saturday.
Chris Heaton-Harris, the MP for Daventry, studied FIFA's regulations and realised that although they prohibited such symbols on team shirts of national teams, they would allow poppies to be on the armbands.
He contacted a FIFA adviser with the proposal and was put in touch with FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke, and then spoke to Football Association executives to secure the agreement.
Heaton-Harris told Press Association Sport: "I was reading the FIFA regulations and it was fairly obvious you could not have a poppy on the shirt - but that you could on an armband.
"I contacted someone close to FIFA and ended up speaking to Jerome Valcke on the phone and then the FA.
"There was a lot of stuff going on in the background with the Prime Minister and Prince William both writing to FIFA but I did have a small part to play."
Heaton-Harris said he hoped people would give FIFA credit for their decision - especially after two members of the English Defence League climbed onto the roof of FIFA headquarters, highlighting that there could be a political aspect to wearing a poppy.
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