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Wear Your Poppy with Pride....

It is very unusual for me to ever applaud any action taken by the FA, but in the case of their stance regarding the wearing of the poppy in the England football team's upcoming game against Scotland, who have also backed the move, I am in total agreement. Both teams will wear an armband featuring a poppy to commemorate Armistice Day, which falls on the day of the match.

According to FIFA, the world governing body, wearing a poppy constitutes making a political statement and thereby contravenes FIFA rules. Should they allow this to happen, they say, it would open the floodgates for further breaches.

Now FIFA have frequently allowed teams to support a cause or an event in the past, so this is double standards to say the least. Indeed England have previously worn armbands - with no objection from FIFA - to commemorate Remembrance Day. The poppy is not a political symbol, it is a sign of peace originating from just after World War One, to commemorate the millions who lost their lives in the so-called 'War to end all Wars'. Of course it means a lot to England and Scotland, but also to all of those from all nations who were involved in the tragic events of a hundred years ago.

FIFA, an organisation who, although there have been changes recently in the hierarchy, has over the years been a byword for corruption and dodgy deals, and consequently have absolutely no right to take some dubious moral high ground on this issue with absolutely no regard for the millions and millions of people who have given their lives for their country and the families who have lost loved ones.  What will they do next, ban the two minutes silence?

The relevance of the poppy rings as true as ever now as it did when it first appeared in 1921. Wars affecting many parts of the world - the Middle East, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, South Sudan, central Africa - are blighting many countries who are FIFA members. The message behind the poppy of remembrance for those who have lost their lives and striving for peace is just as applicable for the countries who are affected now as it was following the events in places like the Somme. 

So, put into context, against the background of war, the England-Scotland match is only a football game, which is the way the FA and SFA have both looked at it and are willing to face any sanctions thrown at them. And I applaud them for it....

I have unashamedly borrowed the title for this piece from the name of a song by my good friend Roger Davies, which sums the message behind the poppy so much better than I ever could, so the least I can do is share it with you!


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