James McArthur: It would be travesty if poppy wasn’t worn

James McArthur wants to wear a poppy 'out of respect' in Scotland's clash with England on Friday. Pic: SNS
James McArthur wants to wear a poppy 'out of respect' in Scotland's clash with England on Friday. Pic: SNS
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Scotland midfielder James McArthur has said it would be a “travesty” if the teams taking to the Wembley pitch for Friday’s World Cup qualifier did not wear poppies.

Both the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the England Football Association (FA) have said they will defy FIFA’s ban on teams having political or personal messages on their shirts in the game in two days’ time, which falls on Armstice Day.

The decision has provoked a storm in the UK, with Prmier Minister Theresa May calling FIFA’s directive – which can be seen in terms of the strict liability measure that the SFA, ironically, have pushed for its member clubs to accept – as “outrageous”, while the world 
footballing authority have maintained that sanctions could be applied to both Scotland and England in the event of poppies appearing on the players’ strips.

McArthur feels strongly over the issue and backs the stance of Scotland’s governing body, saying: “I would like to wear it out of respect and I am delighted that we will. I think it would be a travesty if we didn’t wear one.”

McArthur has no such strong feelings on FIFA forcing Scotland to wear their pink change strip on Friday – the white sleeves on the home kit are deemed to clash with England’s top.

“I don’t think it really 
matters,” McArthur said. “If we get a win a don’t think anyone will be saying anything about a colour of strip. It is about the players stepping up on the day and producing a performance which can win a football match.”