Fifa wrong on poppy row – Wenger

Poppy

Fifa is wrong to ban poppies on shirts for the World Cup qualifier between England and Scotland on Remembrance Day, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

The football associations of England and Scotland will defy Fifa and allow their players to wear black armbands with red poppy emblems for the match.

The Gunners boss said Fifa “should not get involved” in the issue.

World football’s governing body prohibits political, religious or commercial messages on shirts.

“By wanting to be too politically correct you can go sometimes against tradition,” Wenger added.

The poppy is worn in the weeks up to and around Remembrance Day on 11 November to remember British and Commonwealth armed forces who died in World War One and later conflicts.

Fifa’s secretary general Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura and senior officials from the four home football associations are meeting at Wembley Stadium on Thursday for talks.

Samoura told BBC Sport “any kind of sanction” could follow if Fifa’s rules are breached.

English FA chief executive Martin Glenn told BBC Sport that players from both sides will break Fifa rules and wear armbands carrying the red poppy symbol “as a point of principle”.

The Scottish Football Association, meanwhile, told BBC Sport it is prepared to challenge any Fifa sanction imposed for its players wearing armbands.

Former England defender Danny Mills earlier told BBC Radio 5 live the row over poppies is overshadowing the meaning of the occasion.

Mills, 39, said one solution could have been players wearing temporary tattoos on their hands.

“If the players are that insistent on wearing poppies, they should get a temporary tattoo, stick it on the back of their hand and, when the national anthems are played, put your hand on your heart and it’s there for everybody to see.

“Fifa cannot stop that. It’s no different than having a normal tattoo.

“It almost seems like the FA are having a fight for the sake of it. It’s becoming about the FA and Fifa rather than actually remembering all those who have lost their lives.

“We’re starting to lose what the poppy is about,” Mills added.

Mills also suggested the players donate their match fees to the Royal British Legion, organiser of the annual poppy appeal.

The match, next Friday, 11 November at Wembley, is a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

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