Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn claims their case is ‘rock solid’ over the poppy row in the lead-up to Friday’s England versus Scotland World Cup qualifier, and has accused Fifa of posturing over the issue.
The FAs of both countries intend to challenge Fifa’s ban political symbols by wearing black armbands with poppy emblems at Wembley ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
Fifa general secretary Fatima Samba Diouf Samoura said ‘any kind of sanction’ – including a possible points deduction – could follow, but Glenn suggests that the real issue is Fifa’s recently-elected leaders using the controversy as a way of exerting their new-found authority.
Speaking at the Sports Industry Breakfast Club, Glenn said: “Unfortunately, with new personalities coming in there [FIFA], they felt they wanted to make a bit of a stand.
“If they fine us, we’ll contest. They have much bigger problems they should be concentrating on.
“We’ll contest it strongly. I’m confident our legal position is right and our moral position is right. We believe our case is absolutely rock solid. So good luck.”
Glenn noted that Premier League club shirts have had contained embroidered poppy emblems for years and Fifa has never taken any action.
World football’s governing body employs a zero tolerance policy when it comes to international shirts containing political, religious or commercial messages.
The row even reached into the House of Parliament, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May branding FIFA’s rule ‘outrageous.’
She said: ‘”Before they start telling us what to do, they jolly well ought to sort their own house out.
“Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security. It is absolutely right they should be able to do so.”
The row is a repeat of the one that took place in 2011, when England wore the poppy emblem during a friendly with Spain.
Fifa threatened to ban the England team from wearing the symbol, but eventually relented and allowed the players to wear the black armband with the poppy emblem.