Wales have decided against following England and Scotland in defying FIFA by wearing poppies on their shirts or armbands in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Serbia. The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said in a statement on Thursday that world soccer’s governing body had refused a request for players to wear poppies in commemoration of the armistice that ended World War One.
FIFA rules forbid players from wearing anything that can be perceived as a political statement and the FAW said its team would wear black armbands in their Group D match instead.
“As an association we also have to respect the rules of FIFA and following long discussions with members of the FAW Council, staff, management and players, a decision has been made not to wear the poppy against Serbia,” said FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford.
“We felt unable to take the risk of a financial penalty or point deduction, however, as we always have done at this time of year, we will be paying our respects in other ways.”
The FAW said a mosaic depicting the poppy will be unveiled by Wales supporters at the Cardiff City Stadium prior to kick off.
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England and Scotland, who play in Group F at Wembley on Friday, have said they will defy the FIFA ban and wear poppies on black armbands.
The four British FAs and FIFA make up the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which is responsible for making the rules that govern the sport.
A section of one of the laws of the game says: “Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.”