FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against England and Scotland for wearing poppies during their 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier on Nov. 11.

FIFA Opens Disciplinary Proceedings Against England And Scotland For Poppy Uniforms

Players from both national teams donned black armbands with a poppy during England’s 3-0 victory at Wembley Stadium, which took place on Armistice Day.

The world soccer governing body’s rules prohibit “political” statements on jerseys.

FIFA would not “speculate on any outcome or provide an estimated timeline”.


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The idea for the poppy uniforms was first raised before the two countries met on Nov. 11, the day when the United Kingdom traditionally honors those who have died in battle.

According to the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB), which includes members of the four British football associations, players cannot wear “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images”.

That rule was bent on Nov. 12, 2011, during a 1-0 England friendly win over Spain at Wembley, as players wore poppies on their armbands that day.

That same year, Scotland players wore poppies on armbands and on their tracksuits in a game against Cyprus.

Nevertheless, FIFA did not specify before Friday’s match whether either England or Scotland and would be punished for their poppy armbands.

MP Damian Collins – chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee – wrote to Fifa president Gianni Infantino asking the world governing body to reconsider its decision.

English Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn stated players from both sides would wear black armbands with poppies “as a point of principle.”

Glenn also added the FA would contest any form of punishment, claiming its legal case was “rock solid.”

Meanwhile, Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan stated before the match that it was also prepared to challenge any sanction FIFA imposed.

Oddly enough, FIFA stated it did not explicitly ban the display of poppies and that any such claim was “a distortion of the facts.”

Soccer’s rules are laid out by IFAB, and any infringement is deal with by FIFA’s disciplinary committee– which FFA says is an independent body.

Nevertheless, FIFA’s secretary general, Fatma Samoura, told BBC Sport last week: “We have to apply uniformly and across the 211 member associations the laws of the game. Britain is not the only country that has been suffering from the result of war.”

Fifa recently opened disciplinary proceedings over the Republic of Ireland’s use of a logo to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising.

A points deduction is the harshest sanction possible, although a fine is considered to be more likely.

The British FAs would then have an opportunity to challenge that fine via Fifa’s appeals process and a further chance to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport – a course of action that would probably cost more than the fine.

COLCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 10: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England wears a poppy armband during the UEFA Under-21 Championship Group 8 Qualifier between England and Iceland at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on November 10, 2011 in Colchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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