Fifa to lift the ban on poppies on football shirts

Poppy ban Wayne Rooney

FIFA has backed down in its row with British football authorities over the wearing of poppies by players in worldwide matches as a tribute to those killed in war.

Federation Internationale de Football Association will be applying common sense in relaxing its ban on England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland's national teams displaying a poppy on their shirts, according to United Kingdom sports minister Tracey Crouch.

When England and Scotland defied the ruling, by wearing a black armbands with poppy during their match on 11 November, they ended up being fined.

Last year, Federation Internationale de Football Association fined England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for their use of the poppy, after the governing body ruled it to be a political symbol.

All four of the UK's national sides received fines from FIFA's disciplinary panel last November for displaying poppies in various forms to honour Armistice Day, a decision that prompted an intervention from prime minister Theresa May, who described the punishments as "utterly outrageous".

Wales and Northern Ireland were also fined similar amounts for Remembrance displays.

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In what is a significant victory for the Football Association, the game's law-makers have agreed to a rule amendment allowing poppies to be worn if the opponents and match organisers agree to it. To do so, England need to beat Slovenia at Wembley next month to secure automatic promotion while a draw is enough for Germany against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

England captain Wayne Rooney wears a poppy on his sleeve.

"It is completely right that footballers and fans alike should be able to wear poppies with pride, as a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our serviceman and women".

England intend to play Germany at Wembley in November, subject to qualifying results next month, and the German FA are believed to have raised no objections to the use of the poppy.

Past year the FA maintained that the Poppy - used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war - did not fall into any of these categories.

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