Wembley bagpipe ban to be raised at cabinet level

Scotland fans could be stopped from entering Wembley with bagpipes. Picture: Getty
Scotland fans could be stopped from entering Wembley with bagpipes. Picture: Getty
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A proposed crackdown on bagpipes when Scotland play England at Wembley next month has been branded “astonishing” by a UK Government minister - who pledged to raise it with Coalition cabinet colleagues.

Europe Minister David Lidington told MSPs today that the Queen likes to be awoken by the bagpipes and quipped: “What’s good enough for the Queen ought to be good enough for the FA.”

There has been concerns that bagpipes would be banned for the revival of the historic fixture on August 14 to celebrate the FA’s 150th anniversary. This was denied by the FA, but they have warned any request to play them will have to go through “proper channels” - prompting concerns that fans could be charged.

Nationalist MSP Willie Coffey raised concerns that bagpipes would be “banned from Wembley stadium” when the minister appeared before the committee today.

“Could we ask you to use whatever influence you have to make sure that the English FA do not carry out that ban and that members of the Tartan army will be welcome to bring their bagpipes to Wembley to celebrate the occasion,” Mr Coffey asked the minister.

Mr Lidington said the row was “a completely new one” to him, but warned his influence over the FA is “limited in the extreme.”

“I’m astonished by what Mr Coffey is telling me,” he added.

“I’ve no idea what the rationale is - I’ll have a word with the sports minister in London about this.

“But my understanding is that Her Majesty the Queen likes to be awoken by bagpipes every morning - whether in Holyrood or Buckingham Palace. I’d have thought what’s good enough for the Queen ought to be good enough for the FA.”

The Scotland-England clash is the oldest in international football but has not been played since 1999.

The FA has only said it will listen to any specific requests from the “proper channels” on the playing of bagpipes and look to make provisions where possible. Bagpipes have been played at Wembley by Scotland fans since 1928.