Wenger backs poppies, armbands in England and Scotland World Cup qualifier

London, Nov 3 (IANS) English Premier League (EPL) football club Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger on Thursday put his weight behind the Football Association (FA) saying FIFA is wrong to ban poppies on shirts for the 2018 World Cup qualifier between England and Scotland on Remembrance Day.

The football associations of England and Scotland will defy FIFA’s ban and allow their players to wear black armbands with red poppy emblems for the match.

The Gunners boss said FIFA “should not get involved” in the issue.

“By wanting to be too politically correct you can go sometimes against tradition,” Wenger said.

English FA chief executive Martin Glenn told BBC Sport that players from both sides will break the world body’s rules and wear armbands carrying the red poppy symbol “as a point of principle”.

The Scottish Football Association, meanwhile, told BBC Sport it is prepared to challenge any FIFA sanction imposed on its players wearing armbands.

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed by Commonwealth member states since the end of the first World War to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty.

Former England defender Danny Mills earlier told BBC Radio 5 that the row over poppies is overshadowing the meaning of the occasion.

Mills, 39, said one solution could have been players wearing temporary tattoos on their hands.

“If the players are that insistent on wearing poppies, they should get a temporary tattoo, stick it on the back of their hand and when the national anthems are played put your hand on your heart and it’s there for everybody to see.

“FIFA cannot stop that. It’s no different than having a normal tattoo.

“It almost seems like the FA are having a fight for the sake of it. It’s becoming about the FA and FIFA rather than actually remembering all those who have lost their lives.”

“We’re starting to lose what the poppy is about,” Mills added.

–IANS

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