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Cameron blasts "absurd" FIFA for poppy ban

English FA plan a host of alternative remembrance efforts after FIFA tells them that players can’t wear the poppy on their jerseys.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER David Cameron has called on FIFA to reconsider its “outrageous” decision to ban the English football team from wearing poppies this weekend.

England host Spain in a friendly in Wembley on Saturday evening and had intended to wear special jerseys embroidered with poppies to mark Remembrance Weekend.

But those plans had to be scrapped yesterday after FIFA ruled that the emblem was a political symbol and is therefore banned under the game’s laws.

The decision, Cameron said this morning, was “absurd.”

“Wearing a poppy is an act of huge respect and national pride. I hope FIFA will reconsider.”

However, the FA insisted that its players will still mark the occasion in an appropriate manner, wearing black armbands and observing a minute of silence before kick-off on Saturday evening.

The players will also wear poppy-embroidered training tops and “anthem jackets” on match-day, neither of which contravene FIFA rules, and will break from training to observe the customary two-minute silence at 11am on Friday.

Director General of the Royal British Legion Chris Simpkins commended the FA for its remembrance efforts. “There are other ways to honour the poppy than by wearing it on a shirt,” he said.

“The FA has helped us explore every alternative available and we are satisfied that England will enter the competition knowing they have shown proper respect for our Armed Forces.”

This is not a dispute between FIFA and the Royal British Legion. It’s an issue between FIFA and the British public, which is how it should be.

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Niall Kelly

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