Chris Coleman will turn to his senior players, including Aaron Ramsey, to make a decision over denying FIFA’s edict that no symbols can be worn on shirts.
The issue, which has exploded more this season than any other, comes at a time when there is a heightened feeling of nationalism and it is no coincidence that this row comes in the wake of the Brexit shambles.
This wasn’t an issue in previous years:
Scotland v England
13th November 1999
Not a poppy in sight and nobody was bothered then pic.twitter.com/A92DLodGXY
— Brian Milne (@BrianMilne80) November 2, 2016
The poppy, for me, was always a symbol that represented the loss of life in the first two world wars (let’s not rule out more coming given how things are going) but even the British Legion, who organise the poppy campaign every year, have said that the poppy now represents more than that now, and that’s what makes it difficult.
3. The Poppy Appeal home page also makes it very clear the BL want to increase focus on serving soldiers, not just victims of World Wars pic.twitter.com/gK7w4fqI0v
— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) November 4, 2016
Where do you draw a line?
How can you allow one symbol and not others?
It is easier to have a blanket ban.
FIFA aren’t stopping any teams having a minutes’ silence or any of the numerous ways that they opt to remember those who sacrificed their lives.
As I said, if it was just about WWI and WWII, I could see the reason for the uproar.
But that is no longer the poppy we expect people to wear as the British Legion tell us.
It is this sort of conundrum that means Wales could face a points deduction should they opt to wear a poppy against Serbia, with the Serbians likely to complain to FIFA about the symbol. A fine would, however, seem more likely.
FIFA will get involved if one side complains and as England are playing Scotland, that won’t happen so their points/money are safe.
Wales not so much.
Wales Online state that Coleman will turn to Ramsey, Bale, Williams and other senior members in their squad to determine if they are prepared to take the risk of a three-point deduction in order to defy FIFA and ‘show solidarity with England and Scotland’.
You can’t help but think that the players will feel they have no choice but to say ‘yes’ because of the uproar that has been whipped up in the media by people who really should know better.
Is that really what those people who fought and died wanted? Weren’t they fighting for freedom and free will?
It is likely that an agreement will be reached similar to one in 2011 when they were allowed to wear them on black armbands, sanctioned by FIFA. That opens a whole world of problems when the next team wants to wear a symbol that remembers the dead from their wars and someone else takes exception.
Allow all or none. It really is that simple.
It’s not about disrespecting the dead. It’s about respecting everybody – including the living.