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FIFA fines England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland over poppies



FIFA agent urges Presidency to wade into ongoing NFF crisis

World football governing body FIFA has fined all four Home Nations for displaying poppies during 2018 World Cup qualifiers around Armistice Day.

England and Scotland players wore armbands featuring the symbol when they met at Wembley on Nov. 11.

Wales and Northern Ireland’s respective games featured displays on the pitch or in the stands to mark the event.

In an immediate reaction, England’s Football Association (FA) says it will appeal against the fine of 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,311).

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland yet to decide.

Scotland and Wales were both fined 20,000 Sfr (£15,694), and Northern Ireland 15,000 Sfr (£11,770).

A Scottish FA (SFA) spokesman confirmed discussions between the Home Nations have already taken place and an official appeal is likely to be lodged early in 2017.

FIFA Disciplinary Committee chairman Claudio Sulser said he “fully respected’’ the commemorations but stressed the rules “need to be applied to all member-associations’’.

“The display, among others, of any political or religious symbol is strictly prohibited,’’ he added.

“In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport. Nothing else.’’

UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch described FIFA’s decision as “disappointing’’.

According to the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB), which the Home Nations exclusively belong to, players cannot wear “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images’’.

But both England and Scotland players wore armbands featuring the poppy symbol during England’s 3-0 win.

There was also a display of poppies on big screens, a minute’s silence, playing of the Last Post and poppy T-shirts handed to the crowd.

Following Wales’ 1-1 draw at home to Serbia the next day, FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings.

It looked at “fans in the stands wearing the poppy’’ and the presence of “a member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel’’, according to the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

The holding of a minute’s silence, the laying of a wreath and a poppy display by fans before Northern Ireland’s 4-0 win over Azerbaijan on Nov. 11 have led to the punishment of the Irish FA.

FIFA has also punished the Republic of Ireland (FAI) with a 5,000 Sfr fine (£3,930) after its players wore shirts commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising earlier this year.

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