FIFA has fined the Football Associations in England and Scotland after players from both countries wore armbands depicting poppies during last month’s 2018 World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium.
England’s Football Association (FA) has been ordered to pay $44,000 for “several incidents” during the game on Armistice Day, November 11, in London, which the hosts won 3-0.
World football’s governing body has also fined the Scottish Football Association $19,000.
The decision is likely to spark outrage in the respective nations as the poppy is a symbol worn to remember those who lost their lives during World War One and subsequent conflicts.
FIFA said it was due to “the display by the host association, the English team and spectators of a political symbol and several cases of spectator misconduct.”
The FA has confirmed it intends to appeal and has written a letter to ask FIFA for an explanation.
Wales have also been fined $19,000 and Northern Ireland $15,000 for similar offences, including displays of the poppy against Serbia and Azerbaijan respectively.
A wreath was laid beside the pitch during Wales’ match in Cardiff, while fans displayed a mosaic.
Northern Ireland held a minute’s silence, laid a wreath and supporters also held up a mosaic.
The Republic of Ireland have also not escaped punishment as they have been ordered to pay $5,000.
In November, FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the Football Association of Ireland following their use of a logo to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising.
During an international friendly match against Switzerland in March this year, the Republic of Ireland’s players had the years 1916 and 2016 embroidered on their shirts.
The Easter Rising took place in April 1916, where a group of rebels sought to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic.
A total of 15 of the rebellion leaders were later killed while around 485 people lost their lives across six days of conflict.
“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,” FIFA Disciplinary Committee chairman Claudio Sulser said.
“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 has also sanctioned Chile for homophobic chanting and they have been ordered to play their next two home World Cup qualifiers, against Paraguay and Ecuador, behind closed doors.
The organization has banned the nation from playing at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos in Santiago and fined them $30,000.
Romania have been banned from the Arena Naționalăin Bucharest for two matches and fined $92,000 after fans threw flares and firecrackers onto the pitch during their clash with Poland last month, which the visitors won 3-0.
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who plays his club football for Bayern Munich, escaped injury after a flare exploded near him, with the match later suspended as a result of the behavior of the supporters.
Honduras have also been hit with a ban from playing at their home ground – the Olympic Stadium in San Pedro Sula – due to “several incidents” in their match against Panama in November, which finished in a 1-1 draw.
FIFA has ordered the country to pay $39,000.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.