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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 5 December, 2019

Northern Ireland will wear black armbands, not poppies, for their clash with Azerbaijan

The Irish FA announced the team will make the gesture on Friday night to mark Armistice Day.

Image: Presseye/INPHO

THE NORTHERN IRELAND team will wear a plain black armband for Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan at Windsor Park.

The Irish FA have made the announcement following discussions with Fifa.

They will make the gesture to mark Armistice Day, which commemorates the signing of the armistice between the Allies and the Germans on November 11, 1918.

A minute’s silence will also be held prior to kick-off, while the names of the players connected with the Irish FA who died during the First World War will be displayed on the big screen. A card display featuring a poppy with be on show in the West Stand.

“The Irish FA is committed to marking Armistice Day with appropriate acts of remembrance,” said Patrick Nelson, chief executive of the Irish FA.

“We asked FIFA if permission could be granted for the Northern Ireland team to wear a poppy on the shirt or on an armband. Based on law 4.4 of the laws of the game 2016/17, FIFA advised that they could give no guarantee that there would not be disciplinary proceedings if the Northern Ireland team was to wear a symbol of remembrance on the playing shirt.

“As a member of IFAB, we have placed clarification of law 4.4 on the agenda for the next annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board which will be held in London in March.”

The Royal British Legion will have a collection inside the ground for this year’s Poppy Appeal and a wreath will be laid in memory of the fallen.

Northern Ireland currently sit in third place of Group C, three points behind second-placed Azerbaijan.

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Kevin O'Brien

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