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Nov 4 16 9:32 PM

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So for whatever reason, some sections of British press have reignited a 'story' that was comfortably settled 5 years ago, regarding the right of England and Scotland (and Wales) to wear poppies on their kits in the coming international break.

Of course, if FIFA backtrack on the previous compromise of 'black armband with poppy', then it will be a little ridiculous, but what is already a lot ridiculous is said media outlets and MPs sticking their beaks in with inflated outrage when there are really more important things for them to be worrying about right now (you could say that Mrs May jolly well needs to sort her own house out first smiley: ohwell). And of course, the irony that must go over their heads, in that the more it is discussed by politicians, the more the poppy becomes seen as a 'political symbol', and thus less likely to be given permission by FIFA.

Other things of note:
  • The 'no political symbols' kit rule was implemented by IFAB, the 8 votes of which belong to FIFA (4), and the four Home Nations (1 each). So at least one of the Home Nations and likely more have written the rules they now want to break.
  • Poppies on football shirts aren't a grand old tradition, the main breakthrough at club level came less than a decade ago (and just a year later outrage material for anyone who didn't fall in line in wearing one regardless of anything they do behind-the-scenes), while England have only ever had a poppy near their kit on one previous occasion, during the above-mentioned "Armbandgate 2011".
  • For those not living on this island, around this time of year there is an ever-increasing amount of 'poppy facism' in the air, you had better wear one if you appear on TV in the 2-3 week window around Remembrance Day or you're clearly a traitor to the country, this of course helps explain why it is now on most club kits. Now seems to be less of a 'quiet reflection on the fallen soldiers of the UK and all nations', and more of an American-style 'support our troops or else' movement.
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#1 [url]

Nov 4 16 10:21 PM

Doing anything contrary to FIFA is a massively easy way to gain popularity and kudos, particularly in the UK, so they naturally can't pass the chance even if there wasn't a moral aspect involved.

In 2011 they got around it with an armband, see previous discussion, and we also had the idea that the FA badge itself could include national symbols of this nature.  OK the example was a swastika, no longer relevant per se (although, see end of post).

Danny Mills made an interesting suggestion (sounds implausible, I know) that because FIFA's rules about messages on shirts are not applied to players' tattoos, then one option is to have the players who want to show a poppy to have a temporary tattoo on their hand.   Would be interesting just to see what FIFA does in such a case, if nothing else, but by this time the meaning of the poppy would start to get overshadowed by the silly squabble between organizers who, really, should spend time on other matters...

Of course it would have made more sense not to even bother dignifying FIFA by asking for "permission" first.  We won't bother to consider all the many occasions when similar symbols or messages have been used by other countries, the same rules have been flouted.  Quickly it was pointed out that Ireland earlier this year had a 1916-2016 logo which commemorated the Easter Uprising (apparently FIFA are "now looking into this" - months later...), and I'm sure there have been many other examples which escaped FIFA's attention altogether.

BTW there was a famous match in 1994, when Germany was to play England in a friendly and it was set in the calendar.  Then as the match approached. someone pointed out that it coincided with Hitler's birthday, and then England pulled out.  Appropriately, the German FA president was named E.Braun...

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#2 [url]

Nov 5 16 4:17 PM

Like I said, the armband solution seems ideal to simultaneously keep within rules and pay respects, if The FA and SFA just took the 2011 decision as precedent and did the same thing for the same symbol then the ball would be well and truly in their court (as in, a similarity to the Irish case, which I'm guessing will end in a fine at most), but the 'asking for more' in spite of that decision and the rules is what restarted this argument. Of course with English clubs the first to wear poppies had to seek permission from The FA to alter their kit for the week, I'm not sure if that became a perma-pass for future years or if every single club has to get greenlighted each season, if it's the latter then maybe the Home Nations carried that approach over in the hopes that time might have changed FIFA's stance, they may have got their wish...

You can make the case that this match is slightly different as both teams are fully behind it and the match falls exactly on Remembrance Day, but I can understand FIFA's position on not wanting to be seen opening the door too much, the next several November international breaks look like they have the 11th within them, so what if one of the Home Nations ends up playing someone like Ireland, Argentina, or Iraq? The way things have been on the British side I'd assume there wouldn't be much tact involved in judging the situation. It's just tricky to draw the line in such a grey area, if the USA put some kind of 1776 commemoration on their kits, would that be within the rules?

I think my view on it all just comes from knowing how much of a cheap populist manoeuvre this is, the politicians commenting on the issue (a few even suggesting we both should just wear poppies anyway even if it means a points deduction) clearly don't know what they're talking about and are just making things harder for the FAs to even get the armbands again. Good thing there's not any other delicate diplomatic negotiation processes about to come up...

A poppy should be purely about respect for fallen soldiers and their sacrifices (which is how I choose to interpret and honour the symbol) and therefore there should be no problem in having one on any national team's kit, but instead it evolved to have a second and sometimes louder meaning that often crosses the line marked 'political' - which I presume is what FIFA have noticed and are trying to keep out of international football.

Also you might want to check that Mabel is paying an appropriate level of respect right now...

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#3 [url]

Nov 6 16 11:39 PM

It seems rather odd than a symbol on a shirt is not allowed, but it is perfectly acceptable for political/military slogans to be shouted by a whole stadium during the national anthems, and for politicians to be invited on to the field to meet teams, and indeed for FIFA to bumkiss various dubious political figures over the years.

The chance to take a stance against FIFA on moral grounds is all well and good, but if they wanted to do that properly they would have withdrawn from FIFA years ago, at the time when it could have had the most effect.

Mabel believes football is silly and that rugby is a much more sensible sport, albeit with too much kicking and not enough use of teeth.

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TheRoonBa

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#4 [url]

Nov 7 16 1:43 PM

I think they should just stop this - many other countries have had wars, not just the UK. Should they all commemorate the dead on their football shirts? It's sport, not a political/military arena. "Lest we forget"? We should forget - the mistakes of our political predecessors that led the world to war in the first place. Normal everyday human beings did not go to war with each other - they were the pawns of the political elite, just as they are now. Get rid of this poppy nonsense.

Should Palestine or Israel commemorate the dead from their conflict by putting symbols on their shirts? Should Ukraine wear symbols on their shirts to commemorate people who died in Crimea? Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, etc.? Where does it end? Football is not the place for anything to do with war, including poppies. None of the other countries who fought the Nazis need to put poppies on their shirts.

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#6 [url]

Nov 7 16 8:08 PM

It is a tradition, there's not a lot more thinking behind it than that. Regardless of the overall validity of quasi-celebratory remembrance of war dead, its application to sport is incongruous. Just as e.g. Americans singing the national anthem before every sporting fixture, or at school assemblies etc.

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#7 [url]

Nov 8 16 8:01 PM

nfm24 wrote:
It is a tradition, there's not a lot more thinking behind it than that. Regardless of the overall validity of quasi-celebratory remembrance of war dead, its application to sport is incongruous. Just as e.g. Americans singing the national anthem before every sporting fixture, or at school assemblies etc.
True, but in football terms 'tradition' is a bit of a stretch for the reasons I mentioned in the first post. Ironically enough we have a near-perfect example to compare this England v Scotland match with - they of course met in the Euro 2000 Play-Off Round on 13/11/1999 (sidenote - slightly before my football-watching time, so incredibly this Friday will be the first competitive running of this historic rivalry that I get to see) (other sidenote - who the hell is Steve Froggatt?), which fell on a Saturday between Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday so was prime poppy-wearing conditions, and yet:

http://www.thesaint-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/60960097_england_scotland_1999_getty.jpg

"He done it once, then the year after that, now this year, the lad David Squires is not letting it go is on fire..."

Also, this.

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#8 [url]

Nov 8 16 9:20 PM

Ah yes the 1999 matches. Neil McCann's typical Scottish jinking wing play and typical Scottish whipped in cross onto the head of typical Scottish Englishman making up the numbers Don Hutchison. I have blotted the first leg totally from my mind so I can't remember it other than there must have been a reason to blot it from my mind. If I remember rightly, Kevin Keegan kneed Craig Brown in the nuts during the handshake after the 2nd leg (or at least it appeared that way on telly).

The Cookie Monster is generally a rare voice of reason in any fatuous debate.

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,448 Site Admin

#10 [url]

Nov 11 16 12:01 AM

nfm24 wrote:
We could really use Colin Hendry and John Collins at the moment.

Colin Hendry would make a good goal post.  We need more speed in our team.  Ikechi Anya makes the rest of the team look like Brontosauruses.

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#12 [url]

Nov 19 16 6:29 PM

nfm24 wrote:
We could really use Colin Hendry and John Collins at the moment.
That depends, can they fit into the Toblerone formation?

As for the poppy saga, FIFA have announced they will be looking into it (the 'little ridiculous' part of my original post), while England and Scotland will continue to fight the rules they helped create (the 'lot riduculous' part), was hoping for some kind of sanity to emerge but it doesn't seem to be nearby at the moment.

Unless you count Wales and Northern Ireland, who pragmatically chose to just wear the FIFA-permitted non-denominational black armbands™. Northern Ireland for their highly complex and split stance on the matter, and Wales stating that they were more likely to receive complaint from Serbia than the impossible odds of England and Scotland complaining against eachother, also neither wanting to take a monumentally stupid risk of a points deduction just to appease a pub owner in Torquay:

http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276352/binaries/poppybar.jpg

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#13 [url]

Nov 19 16 9:19 PM

The Toblerone formation is a decent analogy (and clearly opens the door for Mark to make chocolate-based puns), similar to my description of the San Marino defence as the Maginot Line, but more likely to melt under pressure.

How come "Northern Ireland" were the only lower case words on that poster?

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#14 [url]

Nov 20 16 11:27 AM

nfm24 wrote:
How come "Northern Ireland" were the only lower case words on that poster?
I noticed that too, your guess is as good as mine.

Maybe a subtle political statement? Then again that would require some thought into the situation...

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#16 [url]

Dec 20 16 1:34 AM

And given that the English/Scottish FAs knew they would be fined anyway, they should have taken the opportunity to put sponsors' logos all over the pitch to recoup any losses. In for a penny...

I always wondered why the Scottish poppy logo resembles a Rafflesia flower.

On the homophobic chanting subject, it's difficult to know what the Chilean FA is expected to do to address homophobia in a whole country (or continent), even if they successfully made the stadium homophobia-free, somehow. I wonder how FIFA intends to fine its member countries in which homosexuality is illegal.

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#17 [url]

Dec 23 16 10:45 PM

nfm24 wrote:
And given that the English/Scottish FAs knew they would be fined anyway, they should have taken the opportunity to put sponsors' logos all over the pitch to recoup any losses. In for a penny...

On the homophobic chanting subject, it's difficult to know what the Chilean FA is expected to do to address homophobia in a whole country (or continent), even if they successfully made the stadium homophobia-free, somehow. I wonder how FIFA intends to fine its member countries in which homosexuality is illegal.
You're kidding right? That would carry the biggest possible fine and/or being kicked out of the World Cup, racism and willfuly defying pre-determined rules are one thing but that's just a step too far...

In all seriousness though, if that pitch sponsor thing happened I could see FIFA turning the tables and fining The FA to the tune of CHF(amount of revenue generated)+1, like a tennis match of pettiness.

For the homophobic chanting, I agree that it's difficult to associate a nation's FA with a nation's general attitude, but a fine of some kind is nessecary to hopefully be a deterrent that influences positive change in that country's society. There's even been a number of British commenters online regarding the poppy case claiming that FIFA don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to 'political messages' because they have those official campaigns for anti-racism and peace... should say a lot about some people really smiley: eyes.

All in all this mess has just played out pretty close to my earlier assumptions, FIFA have been a little ridiculous in going back on their judgement of 2011 (and for including 'fans wearing poppies' in their charge list against Wales), but the Home Nations have been more ridiculous, England and Scotland wearing the poppy armbands wasn't harming anyone in that stadium but the rule is there to prevent a more flammable situation from appearing in future, and instead went with a level of blind defiance that would be scary if it was over a more important issue smiley: indifferent. Wales and Northern Ireland obeyed the rules to a point, but still went with an all-out military-based pre-match show that displayed the symbol more than enough to make up for a lack of it on biceps.

I'm just kind of lost with how knee-jerk this whole thing was, I was under the impression the Remembrance Day is supposed to be a more quiet reflective affair, the minute's silence and black armbands should make that point, possibly a wreath and The Last March as well. Instead you get all that, plus kit poppies, plus poppy tifos and tacky 3D screensavers on the big screen. Just becomes an excercise in who can be the best at remembering, but the more they do it the worse they seem to get. Also Cookie Monster.

For fining England more than Chile, I can understand to a point based on what happened there - even if they don't do enough to combat homophobia (genuinely don't know), I doubt the Chilean FA were directly responsible for fans in the stadium chanting, and I doubt even more that it was some kind of pre-planned defiant act, letting the debate with FIFA become a major talking point for powerful people looking to score some cheap popularity points.

Of course the homophobic chants are the worse crime on paper (for those 'gay is illegal' countries they seem to have a stance of it not being their business unless something happens in the stadium), but maybe it's because of that reason, with the poppies kicking up such a massive artificial outrage, that it feels like money wasted on the part of the Home Nations (more than it already was, anyway). That was moronic individuals in a position of power knowingly breaking the rules (and as a bonus letting a misinformed anti-FIFA frenzy bubble up in the process) rather than moronic individuals in a large crowd that the FA have limited control over. Chile just have to pay whatever fines come their way and do what they can to help tackle the root of the problem...

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TheRoonBa

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#18 [url]

Dec 25 16 5:30 PM

Regarding the cookie monster (I love cherrypicking the most interesting parts) - it's a bloody disgrace that they haven't managed to get a throat sorted out for him yet. I am sick and tired of watching those cookies fall back out of his mouth. I would like to initiate a campaign to trade in old poppies to buy him a working throat.

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#19 [url]

Mar 23 17 6:34 PM

Something semi-related to the poppy outrage (that being the fetishisation of the World Wars), got a nice little rebirth last night in Dortmund, as a minority of visiting fans to the Lukas Podolski farewell ceremony Germany v England match decided to endear themselves to the hosts with a rendition of hit song 12 German Bombers. Also booing the German national anthem, stay classy lads.

A Google search of the news shows the Daily Mail's headline calling them: "The fans that shame England". Not that they're wrong (for once), but they're throwing that stone from within a multi-storey glass house there...

On a side note, I've previously heard this particular chant live at a Euro 2016 Fanzone near to where a large number of English fans had taken over the area around the Carlsberg stall. This was watched in bemusement by a circular crowd of all nationalities about 5-deep and in that moment was the most directly embarrassed I've ever felt regarding my country (Brexit was about a week later smiley: ohwell).

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#20 [url]

Mar 23 17 11:39 PM

Well, no need to worry. FIFA's past record on this shows that you'll just get a fairly arbitrary fine determined by a random throw at the dartboard in the FIFA fines office. If that.

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