UK Prime Minister Theresa May has slammed Fifa, after football’s governing body turned down a request from England and Scotland players to wear armbands featuring poppies when the sides meet on Remembrance Day.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, May said the stance taken by Fifa was “utterly outrageous”..
“Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security,” she said. “I think it is absolutely right they should be able to do so.”
The Prime Minister said the decision should lie with the respective football associations but added “a clear message is going from this House.”
May suggested Fifa, which has been mired in a long-running corruption scandal, should be more concerned with its own affairs.
“I should say to Fifa before they start telling us what to do they jolly well ought to sort their own house out,” she said.
Fifa normally bans any political, religious or commercial messages on shirts. The teams were allowed to wear black armbands embroidered with poppies in November 2011, after Prince William and David Cameron issued an appeal.
Scotland and England will play in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on 11 November and MP Damian Collins – chair of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport select committee – has written to Fifa president Gianni Infantino asking for the world governing body to reconsider its decision.
Scottish FA chief Stewart Regan said he and FA chief executive Martin Glenn would be meeting Fifa officials on Thursday to discuss the issue.
“We will be asking for their support to try to give the people of England and Scotland what they want,” Regan told BBC Radio 5 live. “That is to use this match of a way of remembering people who lost their lives in the war.
“I can understand why they are doing this, but it is nothing more than a mark of respect. It is a personal choice. This is not about making some political point.”