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Fifa investigates Wales & NI over poppy displays

Remembrance is marked on the pitch ahead of Wales v Serbia

Remembrance is marked at Cardiff City Stadium before Wales’ game against Serbia

Fifa is investigating the Welsh and Irish Football Associations over poppy displays during World Cup qualifiers.

Fans formed a poppy mosaic before Northern Ireland’s 4-0 win over Azerbaijan on 11 November and Wales’ 1-1 draw against Serbia on 12 November.

A spokesperson said Fifa is investigating “several incidents of the display of poppy symbols”.

The English and Scottish FAs are being investigated after players wore poppies during their Armistice Day qualifier.

International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules ban “political, religious or personal messages” on kits, while Fifa ground safety regulations say “the promotion or announcement of political or religious messages” in stadiums is “strictly prohibited”.

Fifa rules also say: “Teams could be fined or deducted points in their qualifying group.”

The Irish FA said it “will robustly defend the disciplinary charges”. The FAW has yet to comment.

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Northern Ireland supporters use cards to create the shape of a poppy before the meeting with Azerbaijan

IFAB, which draws up football’s rules and includes members of the four British football associations, says players cannot wear “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images”.

Wales and Northern Ireland players wore black arm bands during the matches under investigation.

England and Scotland players wore black armbands with poppy emblems in their meeting at Wembley on 11 November, after their associations said they would accept “any kind of sanction”.

Fifa has said that reports of a ban on wearing poppies were a “distortion of the facts” and that its disciplinary committee acted independently.

Football’s governing body said it reminded the four football associations of the rules, although the FAW said Fifa “turned down a request for the Wales national team to wear poppies on their shirts or on armbands”.

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

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Wales fans create a poppy mosaic

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38077727