Fifa reject FA poppy request

Fifa have dismissed the English FA’s request for the national side to wear shirts with poppies embroidered into the material on Saturday against Spain.

The British nation were keen to wear the poppies as a mark of respect to support Remembrance Day, but the world governing body has rejected the request, as it is seen to go against the neutrality of the game.

“We regret to inform you that accepting such initiatives would open the door to similar initiatives from all over the world, jeopardising the neutrality of football,” a letter from Fifa to the FA reads.

“Therefore, we confirm herewith that the suggested embroidery on the match shirt cannot be authorised.

“There are a variety of options where The FA can continue supporting the cause of Remembrance. One of them already was approved by Fifa, the Period of Silence,” it concluded.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson also wrote a letter to Fifa on Tuesday in support of the poppy being included in the England strip, but the heartfelt approach was rejected by the governing organisation.

There have been suggestions that if England were allowed to wear poppies it would offend Germany or the German people, but this has been dismissed by DFB general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach.

“I am totally surprised (by the suggestion that German people might be offended) because it just hasn’t been mentioned here,” Niersback told The Daily Mail.

“The Federation has not heard of, or been involved in, any discussions about poppies and whether England should be allowed to wear them on Saturday.

“I cannot imagine we would have any objection to the idea of England’s players having poppies on their shirts. It just wouldn’t be a problem to us. It wouldn’t be an issue,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight