Poppy row: IFA urged to defy Fifa ban as FAI face sanctions

The FAI is being investigated by Fifa over the Easter Rising shirt its players wore in March
The FAI is being investigated by Fifa over the Easter Rising shirt its players wore in March

If the Irish Football Association defy the poppy ban this Friday, it would be an “expression of remembrance” unlike the “overtly political action” of the FAI who are being investigated by Fifa for allowing its players to wear commemorative Easter Rising shirts.

That is the view of DUP MLA Nelson McCausland who has encouraged the IFA to take the same approach as England and Scotland and wear poppy armbands on Armistice Day.

Fifa have confirmed that disciplinary proceedings have been opened on the Republic of Ireland’s wearing of Easter Rising commemorative shirts during two friendlies in March of this year.

In light of the recent Fifa poppy wrangle football’s governing body has been prompted to begin an investigation.

A Fifa spokesperson said: “We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened on this matter. Please understand we cannot comment further at this stage nor speculate on any outcome.”

The FAI has not commented as it waits to hear if it could face sanctions.

The probe came after the FAI were cited by Commons Sports Committee chair Damian Collins, who raised the issue of double standards over the Ireland shirt.

The IFA confirmed they have received guidance from Fifa with regards to the game at Windsor Park between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan on November 11.

They would not discuss what this guidance was but said the issue would now be discussed by the association.

They were not able to give any idea as to when a decision on how Armistice Day would be marked at the National Stadium would be taken.

Mr McCausland said: “Both the armband and the poppy speak of remembrance and the IFA should follow the same approach as England and Scotland. Fifa should acknowledge that these are not political statements but expressions of remembrance.

“This is very different from the overtly political action of the FAI in having ‘1916-2016’ embroidered on their team shirts to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.”