Wales will not wear poppies to commemorate Remembrance weekend when they face Serbia on Saturday to avoid potential sanctions from FIFA.
England and Scotland could suffer punishments ranging from fines to points deductions from world football’s governing body after confirming they will wear black armbands embroidered with a poppy to commemorate Britain’s war dead.
FIFA regulations prohibit political symbols on kits, but Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn reiterated England will not change their stance when he addressed a Sport Industry Group event in London.
“We think they’re interpreting the rules wrongly,” he said. “This is a law-of-the-game issue, not a FIFA competition issue. Our case is absolutely rock solid.”
But the Football Association of Wales (FAW) have been persuaded against taking a similarly hard line after approaching FIFA and will wear plain black armbands in a show of respect.
An FAW statement read: “FIFA have turned down a request made by the FAW for the Wales national team to wear poppies on their shirts or on armbands.”
FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford added: “The FAW naturally wishes to respect and honour those who fought and lost their lives fighting for their country.
“As an association we also have to respect the rules of FIFA and, following long discussions with members of the FAW Council, staff, management and players, a decision has been made not to wear the poppy against Serbia.
“We felt unable to take the risk of a financial penalty or point deduction, however, as we always have done at this time of year, we will be paying our respects in the other ways.”
Along with wearing the Wales team wearing black armbands, other tributes will include a wreath being laid on the pitch and an image of a poppy being displayed on the stadium screens as a bugler plays the Last Post pre-match, while a mosaic depicting the poppy will be unveiled by Wales supporters in the Family Stand.
Northern Ireland have taken the same course of action as Wales and will sport unmarked black armbands for their own World Cup qualifier versus Azerbaijan.
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