Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – England’s players are pleased they will be able to wear commemorative poppies in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland, striker Harry Kane said on Tuesday.
World governing body FIFA forbids teams from wearing political, commercial or religious symbols during matches and has warned England and Scotland they could face sanctions if they defy the directive.
But the football associations of both counties have decided their players will wear black armbands with poppy motifs to honour Britain’s war dead in the Armistice Day fixture.
“As long as we’re wearing the poppy, we’re happy,” Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane told a press conference at the St George’s Park football centre in Burton-on-Trent, central England.
“We all wanted to wear it. Being on the top or the sleeve, it doesn’t matter too much. As long as we’re wearing it, it’s a big positive.”
Premier League teams have taken to wearing jerseys with poppy emblems for fixtures prior to Armistice Day in recent years.
England’s interim manager Gareth Southgate and Scotland captain Darren Fletcher have both backed the decision to allow the players to wear poppies.
“First and foremost, I think everyone would love to wear the poppy and wants to wear the poppy to show our respect,” Fletcher said on Monday.
“FIFA have their rules and you understand why, but hopefully common sense prevails.”
People in Britain wear paper poppies in November to remember the country’s war dead.
Southgate and England captain Wayne Rooney were among a small group who made a remembrance visit to Stapenhill Cemetery in Burton-on-Trent on Tuesday.
Along with goalkeeper Joe Hart and Daniel Sturridge, they each laid poppy wreathes bearing the message ‘Football Remembers’. Southgate was also pictured placing a flower on a war grave.
England’s game against Scotland falls on November 11, which was the date the Armistice was signed to end World War I in 1918.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has described FIFA’s stance on the matter as “utterly outrageous” and a petition against the poppy ban has been signed by over 315,000 people.
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