ZURICH: The Football Association of Wales will contest a bizarre FIFA charge concerning poppy remembrance observance at their World Cup qualifying tie on November 12 against Serbia.
The Irish Football Association (Northern Ireland) has also been charged. Action by the world federation’s disciplinary department follows charges laid against the Football Association and the Scottish FA over their players’ wearing of poppy-decorated armbands in their own qualifying tie at Wembley on Armistice Day, November 11.
The next day Welsh fans formed a poppy mosaic before Wales kicked off their World Cup qualifier against Serbia while players wore black arm-bands.
Northern Ireland fans had done likewise while their players also wore black arm bands when they hosted Azerbaijan 24 hours earlier.
A statement from the FAW confirmed that charges included:
— Some supporters in the stands wearing the poppy
— A member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the players’ tunnel
— A fans mosaic depicting the poppy being displayed during the anthem of Wales; and
— A banner depicting the poppy displayed by the supporters of Wales before the match started.
Jonathan Ford, the FAW ceo, said: “Naturally as an association we are disappointed and surprised at the news. Our intention was to show respect on Armistice weekend which we feel we did in the right and proper way.
“We also adhered to the rules and regulations of the competition and the communication from FIFA prohibiting the FAW request for the players to wear the poppy symbol on the armbands or the field of play.
“We are particularly disappointed that one of the charges relates to supporters in the stands wearing poppies. Naturally as an association we will strongly contest the charges.”
The case goes before the FIFA disciplinary committee on December 9. The FAW has until November 29 to respond.