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Cross-border dailies unite to salute teams’ poppy ban defiance

Newspapers from both sides of the border have united in support of plans to defy a ‘preposterous’ ban on poppies at tonight’s England v Scotland football match.

Sister titles The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman have joined forces to criticise the decision by FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, not to allow the teams to embroider the symbol of remembrance on their shirts for the game.

Both countries’ Football Associations have stated their intention to defy the ban, which could see them hit with a punishment by FIFA.

The editors of the Johnston Press-owned newspapers have backed the Associations’ defiance in a statement which says they are both “united in our commitment to the poppy”.


Post editor James Mitchinson said: “The Football Associations of England and Scotland have done their nations proud. They are right to disregard the preposterous FIFA-endorsed ban on the poppy being displayed at tonight’s fixture, preventing those that wish to from showing their pride and respect for the armed forces, past and present.

“It demonstrates once again that our beautiful game is governed by an organisation not fit to lace its boots. Lest we forget.”

Scotsman editor Ian Stewart added: “The FIFA ban to stop the war dead being recognised by the players of both England and Scotland is ridiculously disrespectful and demonstrates they really do not know what they are talking about.

“The teams are right to defy it, and we salute them for it and join them in honouring the fallen.”

Approximately 14,000 Scottish supporters are set to descend on London ahead of the game, which kicks off at Wembley Stadium at 7.45pm.

England v Scotland is the oldest match in international football, having first been played in 1872.

The Post’s chief football writer Richard Sutcliffe has penned an Armistice comment on behalf of both papers.

He wrote: “Amid all the rancour and hostility, however, there will be a moment shortly before kick-off when 90,000 men, women and children will fall silent to honour the war dead of both countries. Fittingly, the footballers of England and Scotland will do so sporting the ultimate symbol of remembrance and hope, the poppy.

“FIFA’s stance, however well meant in a world where no two conflicts are the same, to ban both sets of players from sporting the poppy on the grounds it could be construed as a political symbol was, like much the governing body does, simply wrong.

“What could be more fitting than two countries who have suffered horrendous losses of life wanting to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice on this, the eleventh day of the eleventh month?

“The FA and SFA quite rightly chose to ignore FIFA, opening up the possibility of being hit with a punishment in the future. A fine or even a possible points deduction was mooted when the poppy furore first broke last week.

“‘Que sera, sera’ has to be the response to that threat as, no matter how nauseating it will be to see a disgraced organisation taking the moral high ground, the stance that will see poppies proudly worn by England and Scotland tonight is the right one. What price respect, after all.”