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19th Dec 2016

England’s FA fined twice as much as Scotland over ‘political’ poppy display

Other associations have also been fined.

Tom Victor

Fifa have issued the English and Scottish Football Associations with five-figure fines after both countries’ national sides displayed poppies on their shirts in November’s World Cup qualifier.

Both associations have also been reprimanded for spectator behaviour at the Wembley game, which ended 3-0 to the hosts.

But England’s fine is more than double that of Scotland – 45,000 Swiss Francs to the SFA’s 20,000 (or £35,000 to under £16,000) – due to their status as the home side.

Political symbols are forbidden in any Fifa-sanctioned match, and poppies fall under this category, meaning Wales (CHF20,000) and Northern Ireland (CHF15,000) have also been hit with fines.

The English FA’s fine is one-and-a-half times the fine handed to Chile (CHF30,000) for homophobic chanting by a section of their support during a World Cup qualifier against Paraguay. Fifa explains in a statement that ‘similar incidents’ have happened in the past.

The Republic of Ireland have been handed a smaller fine – CHF5,000 (£4,000) – for the commemorative Easter Rising shirt which they wore earlier in the year during a friendly against Switzerland.

GettyImages-622406716Poppies on seats before the England v Scotland qualifier (photo credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“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 Claudio Sulser of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee.

“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.”

Fifa’s statement cites the display of ‘a political symbol’ by spectators as well as the Football Associations in question.

FA Wales had previously provided full details of their Fifa charge, relating to their qualifier against Serbia.

The body issued a statement on November 23 which revealed that the incidents being investigated by Fifa included:

  • Some supporters in the stands wearing the poppy
  • A member of the armed forces was holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel .
  • A fans mosaic depicting the poppy was displayed during the anthem of Wales.
  • A banner depicting the poppy was also displayed by the supporters of wales before the 
match started.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live: