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Sports

FIFA to lift controversial poppy ban

Football's governing body has backed down from its fight with British football associations over wearing "poppies," scrapping a ban on the symbol which commemorates war casualties.

FIFA has reportedly sent a proposal to its football associations that would revise provisions that banned the use of the poppy symbol on the jerseys of British teams.

According to British broadcaster BBC, the use of the poppy emblem would be permitted if the opposing teams and the competition organizer for the match in question both accept its use in advance. Lukas Brud, head of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), told German news agency dpa that the new rules would leave less room for interpretation.

The poppy has long been used as a symbol for the British to commemorate military personnel who died in battle. Yet up until now, British international football teams have been banned from wearing the symbol during official matches.

Under FIFA's Laws of the Game, political symbols were under a blanket ban, which included the poppy. British people usually wear the symbol leading into Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day as it has been rebranded in Commonwealth nations, on November 11.

Last year, the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations were fined after defying the ban, with their players wearing the symbol on black armbands during World Cup qualifiers.

The sanctions caused outrage in Britain, with prime minister Theresa May labelling FIFA's ruling "utterly outrageous".

"I am pleased that it appears that FIFa is finally going to apply common sense and change its position on poppies," Britain's sports minister, Tracey Crouch, said in a statement on Monday.

"It is completely right that footballers and fans alike should be able to wear poppies with pride, as a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our servicemen and women."

The new rule will reportedly go through ahead of England's upcoming friendly against Germany, which will be played on November 10.

dv/js (dpa, AFP)