Fifa charges Wales and Northern Ireland for poppy display

FIFA's disciplinary committee has announced the opening of proceedings against the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales in relation to incidents involving the display of poppy symbols during recent internationals. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

FIFA's disciplinary committee has announced the opening of proceedings against the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales in relation to incidents involving the display of poppy symbols during recent internationals. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

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Fifa has opened disciplinary cases against charged Northern Ireland and Wales for displaying large poppy emblems across sections of their stadiums before recent World Cup qualifying matches.

It follows the game’s world governing body charging the Scottish and English football associations for war remembrance displays and ceremonies before and during their match at Wembley on 11 November.

We are particularly disappointed that one of the charges relates to supporters in the stands wearing poppies.

Jonathan Ford, Chief Executive, FAW

Fifa laws prohibit religious, political or personal statements at matches involving national teams.

Northern Ireland played against Azerbaijan in Belfast on 11 November and Wales hosted Serbia in Cardiff the next day. Both associations who face being fined, say they will contest the charges.

The case will be heard on 9 December.

READ MORE: Poppy Row: Scotland and England await FIFA punishment

The Football Association of Wales said the incidents being investigated include “fans in the stands wearing the poppy” and the presence of “a member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel”.

Chief executive Jonathan Ford said the FAW is “disappointed and surprised” and will “strongly contest the charges”.

“Our intention was to show respect on Armistice weekend which we feel we did in the right and proper way,” he said.

“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.”

The Irish FA said it “will robustly defend the disciplinary charges”.

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