FIFA open disciplinary proceedings against Northern Ireland and Wales over poppy symbols

FIFA open disciplinary proceedings against Northern Ireland and Wales over poppy symbols

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Northern Ireland and Wales in relation to the display of poppy symbols during their recent internationals.

The governing body announced the move despite the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales agreeing their players would not wear poppies to mark Armistice Day during their matches against Azerbaijan and Serbia respectively.

England and Scotland defied FIFA regulations by wearing armbands featuring a poppy when they met at Wembley and are already the subject of disciplinary proceedings.

Northern Ireland and Wales instead wore plain black armbands, but it seems they have still fallen foul of FIFA rule 4.4 concerning political, religious or commercial messages.

A FIFA spokesperson said: "The Disciplinary Committee decided to open proceedings against the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales in relation to several incidents involving the display of poppy symbols reported after the matches Northern Ireland-Azerbaijan and Wales-Serbia respectively."

FIFA announced last week that the English Football Association and the Scottish Football Association faced action, and also confirmed a further investigation into the other tributes paid at Wembley.

The FA marked the occasion by displaying poppies on the large video screens inside and outside the stadium, distributed poppy t-shirts, held a minute's silence before the World Cup qualifier and asked a lone bugler to play the Last Post, as well as inviting hundreds of servicemen and women to the match.

Northern Ireland held a minute's silence, laid wreaths and displayed a poppy mosaic in the crowd while the Welsh laid wreaths at the side of the pitch and also had a crowd mosaic.

All four nations now face the possibility of a fine, while even a World Cup qualifying points deduction is possible.


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