ZURICH: All four British home nations, predictably, have been fined for their various poppy displays at last month’s matches on or near Armistice Day.
The Football Association was handed the largest punishment, with a fine of 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,308) for several incidents including the wearing of poppies on armbands by players.
The Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales were fined 20,000 Swiss francs (£15,692) and the Irish Football Association 15,000 Swiss francs (£11,769) for related offences.
England and Scotland players wore armbands displaying poppies during their World Cup qualifier at Wembley on November 11. A number of other Armistice Day tributes also took place prior to the match.
FIFA had warned the associations before the games, after being asked, the displaying of political symbols could be punishable ahead of the game but the FA and SFA both went ahead with plans for players to wear poppies.
The FAW and IFA, for Wales and Northern Ireland matches against Serbia and Azerbaijan respectively, decided on plain black armbands for players but were still punished for displays of the poppy around the stadium. These included the wearing of poppies by players.
A statement from FIFA read: “England has been fined CHF 45,000 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 for the display of the same political symbol and cases of misconduct committed by its own group of spectators.
“Wales has been fined CHF 20,000 and Northern Ireland CHF 15,000 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.”
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.”
FIFA bans political symbols and has made clear it considers the poppy to be one. The home associations argued it is no such thing and the Football Association was the first to state that it intended to appeal.
During the row, it also came to widespread attention that the Republic of Ireland wore shirts commemorating the Easter Rising in a friendly against Switzerland in March. FIFA has now announced that the Football Association of Ireland has been fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,923).
The associations are now awaiting the full written verdicts from FIFA. The Northern Irish governing body says it will seek legal advice before considering its response.
A statement read: “The Irish FA is disappointed that the FIFA disciplinary committee has reprimanded the association and issued a fine in relation to acts of remembrance at the Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan match on November 11.
“The Irish FA will examine the full written submission when it is released and will take further legal advice before deciding on a future course of action.”
The SFA echoed its Northern Irish counterpart in emphasising its unhappiness with the punishment.
It said in a statement that it was “disappointed by the outcome of the FIFA disciplinary committee” and would “await the written reasons from the committee before considering the appropriate next steps”.