England fined £35,000 by Fifa for wearing poppies against Scotland but will appeal sanction

Fifa have announced that England have been handed a fine of 45,000 Swiss francs, with Scotland fined 20,000 Swiss francs

Jack de Menezes
Monday 19 December 2016 13:16
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England have been fined £35,000 for wearing poppies in their World Cup qualifier against Scotland
England have been fined £35,000 for wearing poppies in their World Cup qualifier against Scotland

Fifa have announced that they have fined the English Football Association 45,000 Swiss francs [£35,000] for wearing and displaying poppies during the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Scotland on 11 November even though Fifa regulations banned them from doing so.

Scotland have also been fined, although their sanction is less than half of their English counterparts as they have been hit with a 20,000 Swiss francs [£15,700] fine due to being the visiting team at Wembley.

The FA later confirmed its intention to appeal the fine, with the national governing body issuing a short statement of Twitter to confirm it has made Fifa aware it its intentions.

The statement read: “We note the decision by the FIFA disciplinary committee, which we intend to appeal. As a first step, we have written to FIFA requesting the grounds for the decision.”

Both England and Scotland defied Fifa’s rules on wearing political and religious statements and wore poppies in their Armistice Day clash at Wembley, knowing that they would face repercussions for their actions.

Images of poppies were also displayed on the stadium big screen and advertising hoardings, while fans in the Wembley stands also wore poppies in a sign of remembrance to those who have lost their lives at war.

England have been hit with a larger fine due to the FA organising the additional poppies that were seen in and around the Wembley stadium. The two associations were also disciplined for fan misconduct.

“Fifa can today confirm sanction imposed on several football associations for incidents during 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying matches and international friendlies.

“England has been fined CHF 45,000 [£35,000] for several incidents in the framework of the England v Scotland match, including the display by the host association, the English team and spectators of a political symbol and several cases of spectator misconduct. Scotland, as the visiting association, has been fined CHF 20,000 [£15,600] for the display of the same political symbol and cases of misconduct committed by its own group of spectators.”

Fifa also confirmed that Wales and Northern Ireland have been fined for displaying poppies during their respective 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Azerbaijan. While neither nation wore poppies due to the risk that would come in a large fine or a possible points deduction, they did display a poppy wreath before kick-off, and have been subsequently fined.

Theresa May: Fifa ban on poppies outrageous

“Wales has been fined CHF 20,000 and Northern Ireland CHF 15,000 [£11,700] in relation to several incidents, including the display of political symbols in the context of the Wales v Serbia and Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan matches,” the statement added.

Wales displayed poppies ahead of the match against Serbia even though they didn't wear them

Fifa also announced sanctions against the Republic of Ireland after their shirts included a symbol paying respect to the victims of the Easter Rising, which was display in the match against Switzerland.

“In addition, the Republic of Ireland has been fined CHF 5,000 [£4,000] for the display of a political symbol on the shirt during the Republic of Ireland v Switzerland friendly match,” the statement continued.

The chairman of Fifa’s disciplinary committee, Claudio Sulser, insisted that Fifa does acknowledge and respect the meanings behind the memorial tributes, and stressed that the respective fines where not an indication of the importance of each different tribute.

Poppy-emblazoned t-shirts on seats at Wembley

“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,” said Sulser in a statement.

“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.”

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