FA & Fifa are ‘having poppy fight for sake of it’


Fifa allowed the England, Scotland and Wales teams to wear poppies on black armbands during internationals in November 2011

A row over players wearing poppies when England face Scotland on Remembrance Day on 11 November is overshadowing the meaning of the occasion, says former England defender Danny Mills.

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.

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

“We’re starting to lose what the poppy is about,” Mills told BBC Radio 5 live.

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

English FA chief executive Martin Glenn has 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 poppy is traditionally worn to remember members of the British and Commonwealth nations’ armed forces who died fighting in World War One and later conflicts in the weeks leading up to and around Remembrance Day.

Fifa prohibits political, religious or commercial messages on shirts.

General secretary of world football’s governing body, Fifa, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, told BBC Sport “any kind of sanction” could follow.

Mills, 39, added: “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.”

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

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

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