Sir Tom Devine: Possible poppy sanctions are “utterly unacceptable”

By Lewis Kemp

SCOTLAND’S leading historian, Sir Tom Devine, believes both England and Scotland should go ahead and wear poppies on their shirts despite apparent opposition from FIFA.

There has been confusion as to whether both national associations would be punished for wearing the commemorative tribute after FIFA today claimed that they didn’t outright ban the wearing of the poppy.

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However they did remind all four Home Nation associations of the rules regarding political statements- with both Wales and Northern Ireland deciding not to risk fines or points deductions by wearing plain black armbands during their respective matches this weekend.

Devine said: “It is utterly unacceptable.

“This is simply an act of memorialisation for the fallen.

“I hope that the most recent news that FIFA are denying that this is the case is correct but either way the two football teams should go ahead and wear the poppy as they indicated they would.”

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Devine also took aim at Danny Mills’ viewpoint, where he stated that the FA had picked the wrong fight and that potential fine money would be better spent being donated to the Royal British Legion.

“I think that’s garbage,” said Devine.

“Always beware, Footballers are very skilled with their feet but not necessarily skilled in the brain.

“Theoretically you could say the money could be used for other purposes but it’s also vital that the football associations stand up for what is a position of important principle. This is an important issue of symbolism.

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“There’s far too many international organisations, unfortunately many of them based in Europe, who seem to be interested in interfering with the behaviour of other countries.

“I think that all the British football associations should be prepared to stand up against this crass interference- if it is crass interference- given what may have been decided earlier today.”

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