FIFA fines British FAs for displaying the poppy | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 19.12.2016
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FIFA fines British FAs for displaying the poppy

FIFA has imposed sanctions on several of its members over incidents that occurred in the most recent international break. Some of the highest-profile incidents involved the display of the poppy by British national teams.

World football's governing body announced on Monday that it had fined the English football association 45,000 Swiss francs (42,000 euros, $44,000) for a series of incidents "including the display by the host association, the English team and spectators of a political symbol" during their World Cup qualifying match against Scotland.

The "political symbol" referred to appears to be the poppy, which is widely worn in Britain and Commonwealth countries to pay tribute to fallen soldiers, particularly from World War I and World War II.  The England-Scotland game, played at Wembley happened to be scheduled on November 11, which is Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth.

Both sets of players wore black armbands bearing the poppy during the match, which England won 3-0.

The Scottish FA received a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs for having the poppy on their jerseys, as well as other incidents.

Although they did not display the poppy on their jerseys, the Welsh FA were fined 20,000 francs and Northern Ireland 15,000 for the display of a 'political symbol' and other incidents.

Welsh officials laid a wreath beside the pitch and fans held up a poppy mosaic prior to their 1-1 draw with Serbia in Cardiff. In Belfast, Northern Ireland held a minute's silence, laid wreaths and displayed a poppy mosaic ahead of their 4-0 win over Azerbaijan.

'Specific circumstances' taken into account'

A statement posted on FIFA's website to announce the sanctions said its Disciplinary Committee had taken the decisions after analyzing the specific circumstances of each case.

"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. 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," chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Claudio Sulser, was quoted as saying.

Several other football associations also received fines, mainly due to the actions of their fans during the last international break, including cases of supporters shouting discriminatory slogans or displaying political banners.

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