FIFA U turn on poppies


Per Ardua Ad Astra
Fifa has climbed down over its decision to ban the England football team from wearing remembrance poppies and will now allow players to display them.
Pressure from the Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister David Cameron helped persuade football's international governing body to reverse its ruling.

Prince William penned a strongly-worded note privately to Fifa expressing his dismay at the move.

Mr Cameron also wrote to the organisation, assuring it that there were "no political connotations whatsoever" associated with the poppies.

Less than an hour after the letters were made public, Fifa announced it would allow England's players to wear a poppy on their black armbands during Saturday's friendly match with Spain.

A spokesman for St James' Palace said William, who is president of the Football Association, was "happy" with the decision.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Cameron welcomed Fifa's decision, saying: "It's a sensible way forward."

In a statement, the FA also welcomed the decision and thanked Fifa.

A Royal British Legion spokesman said: "The Royal British Legion is delighted that England players will be able to wear their poppy with pride.
"As we said earlier, there are other ways of honouring the poppy than wearing it on your shirt - the armband will do nicely. Now everyone can concentrate on enjoying the game."

Sky News sources said: "Although Prince William wrote in his capacity as president of the FA, he was personally very annoyed.
"That comes off the back of him being a serving member of the Armed Forces and having lost friends who've served in the Armed Forces."

Mr Cameron had earlier described the ban as "outrageous" and called for the sport's ruling body to reverse the "absurd" decision that barred the team from having the symbol embroidered on their shirts at Wembley on Saturday.
Officials originally turned down the special request, made by the FA , claiming it would "open the door to similar initiatives" across the world.

Fifa bosses were reported to be worried about setting a precedent that would mean, in future years, if England were playing Germany at the same time of year, the poppies might cause offence.
But German football officials said an England team wearing the remembrance emblem would not upset them.
"I cannot imagine we would have any objection to the idea of England's players having poppies on their shirts. It just wouldn't be a problem," German Football Federation general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach said.

This is the first year the England team has made the request to have the poppy included with their kit.
The Royal British Legion explained the idea had come about from the players themselves.
"The idea really took off last year," a spokeswoman from the charity told Sky News Online.
The charity, which is marking its 90th year this year, said such public gestures create exposure for its cause.