FA to appeal against FIFA fine for wearing poppies

The Football Association have announced that they will be appealing against FIFA’s decision to fine England for wearing poppies. 

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were all fined for displaying poppies in various forms during their respective World Cup Qualifiers last month. As a result, the FA were hit with a £35,000 fine, while the Scottish and Welsh FA were fined £15,700 apiece. Northern Ireland’s IFA, meanwhile, were fined £11,800.

On Monday, the FA confirmed that they would be appealing against the fine handed to them by the sport’s governing body. 

"We note the decision by the FIFA disciplinary committee, which we intend to appeal," the FA said on Twitter. "As a first step, we have written to FIFA requesting the grounds for the decision." 

UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch slammed FIFA’s decision to fine the four countries for displaying the poppy, which honours fallen servicemen and women. 

“It is disappointing that FIFA has not recognised the sentiment of the poppy, which is not a political symbol,” she said. “Poppies are a poignant tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, and footballers and fans alike should be able to wear them with pride.”

The IFA added that they would be seeking legal advice over the fine they were hit with. 

England and Scotland had both agreed to wear poppies when they faced each other at Wembley on November 11, which is known as Armistice Day. 

Wales and Northern Ireland had events and displays featuring poppies in their matches against Serbia and Azerbaijan respectively.

Speaking about the fines issued, Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, said: “With these decisions, it is not our intention to judge or question specific commemorations as we fully respect the significance of such moments in the respective countries, each one of them with its own history and background.

"However, keeping in mind that the rules need to be applied in a neutral and fair manner across FIFA's 211 member associations, the display, among others, of any political or religious symbol is strictly prohibited. In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport, nothing else."