FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Northern Irish and Welsh Football Associations for incidents including “fans wearing poppies” during a recent game between the two national teams.

FIFA Investigates Northern Ireland And Wales Over Poppy Displays

It relates to commemorations during Wales’ 1-1 draw with Serbia on Nov. 12. The Irish Football Association is under investigation for events prior to Northern Ireland’s 4-0 victory over Azerbaijan on 11 November, Armistice Day.

The move comes after both England and Scotland have been investigated for similar reasons. Players from both national teams were seen wearing poppies on their armbands during their match on Armistice Day.

International Football Association Board rules ban “political, religious or personal messages” on kits, while Fifa ground safety regulations say “the promotion or announcement of political or religious messages” in stadiums is “strictly prohibited.”

Teams who violate such rules can either be fined or have points deducted.

Football Association of Wales (FAW) chief executive Jonathan Ford stated the association is very “disappointed and surprised” and will “strongly contest the charges.”

“Our intention was to show respect on Armistice weekend which we feel we did in the right and proper way,” he said. “We also adhered to the rules and regulations of the competition and the communication from Fifa prohibiting the FAW request for the players to wear the poppy symbol on the armbands or the field of play. We are particularly disappointed that one of the charges relates to supporters in the stands wearing poppies.”

Aside from fans, a member of the armed forces is also being investigated for holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel on Nov. 12. Furthermore, a fans mosaic depicting the poppy was displayed during the anthem of Wales. A banner depicting the poppy was also displayed by Welsh supporters before the game began.

A minute of silence was also held during Wales’ game to honor fallen soldiers.

The Irish FA, for its part, said that it “will robustly defend the disciplinary charges.”

FIFA also recently opened disciplinary proceedings over Ireland’s use of a logo during a friendly against Switzerland in March to commemorate the centenary of the Eastern Rising.

CARDIFF, WALES – NOVEMBER 12: Supporters holds up placards to form a giant poppy ahead of Remembrance Sunday prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Wales and Serbia at Cardiff City Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Read more about:
Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!