FIFA have fined the Home Nations a total of £80,000 for displaying poppies on the armbands of their players and making featured displays throughout the stadiums in the games that took place on Remembrance weekend. Here in the UK there has, quite understandably, been a huge uproar at FIFA for the supposed lack of respect shown to the fallen.

 

After all, you cannot use the poppy as a political symbol, right? Or at least, it shouldn’t be. That would be preposterous, no?

Well, in many respects, not really.

Though I largely disagree with FIFA on the matter — an organisation with a history of corruption that has brought the game into disrepute in recent years — I do however think it is important to recognise the reasoning behind their decision.

It may sound obvious, but they have to set a precedent. They need to ensure that other countries don’t follow suit and start wearing commemorative decorations, because let’s face it, that is all the poppy really is or at least, all it should be.

Nevertheless, in the modern era, say the past fifteen or twenty years, such harmless symbols as the poppy have been used to defend wars and decisions made by manipulative politicians. Effectively, this is the reason for concern according to FIFA; that the wearing of such decorations could be a cause of provocation and even tension between countries.

That said, FIFA have been hypocritical. It was only in 2011, that the poppies were worn with no complaint from the sport’s governing body.

Still, given the threats of potential point deductions, it is clear that FIFA preferred to hand out a small fine, by way of example, while still being relatively lenient.

And, as ironic as this may sound, this issue should have been dropped long ago.

We, as a nation, shouldn’t need to fight in order to force remembrance. All we need to do is remember the many fallen victims who died for our freedom.

Yes, it is understandable that we may want to have a physical symbol for our remembrance, but why can’t we also be content with acknowledging the travesties of the past, quietly and respectfully?

This is why both parties are arguably in the wrong.

FIFA have shown blatant hypocrisy in allowing the poppy to be worn five years ago and doing a volte-face now.

The FA have used the poppy to effectively defy FIFA — yet that is not what the symbol should be used for.

Any enmity between FIFA and us, either from the FA or as supporters, is completely beside the point when the relevance of this poignant symbol is observed. Let’s not tarnish the respect owed to victims of war by associating it with a corrupt organisation like FIFA. Let’s not make this into an issue of wearing poppies as a means of showing we care.

Just remember the dead in your heart, forever and always.

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