FIFA, football’s world governing body, has tarnished its already battered reputation by outrageously banning poppies from the shirts of England players or any other nation wishing to commemorate Armistice Day. 2011 has been the most controversial year that FIFA has endured following revelations of bribery and scandal and this latest move is unlikely to restore any confidence from the public anywhere in the world.
Many people will agree that Armistice Day is perhaps one of the most important days of the year for anyone residing in a country that was involved in either of the World Wars or even beyond. The day pays homage to the lives that were lost during two bloody encounters that have shaped the rest of history. You would have to go a long way to find someone that doesn’t have a grandparent or great grandparent that wasn’t affected by WWI or WWII; surely it should not be an issue for this to be respected through a simply poppy on a football shirt? In short, this latest act of disrespect and autocracy from FIFA is utterly disgraceful and should not be taken lying down or lightly.
As an avid football fan and great respecter of everything our ancestors did for us during the World War’s I find myself incensed by this ruling even as I sit writing this article, nearly a day after it was confirmed. How FIFA can sit in their ivory towers and show such total disdain for one of the most significant events in world history is nothing short of baffling.
Prime Minister Cameron clearly shares my view on this topic, labelling the decision as “absurd” – as regular readers here at Young Academic will be well aware, it’s not often that the PM and I are singing from the same hymn sheet but he is dead right.
FIFA have defended the ruling by stating that it could “open the door to similar initiatives”. I challenge anyone to find a similar initiative to one that honours the death of millions of people from across the globe. This just simply makes no sense whatsoever. A rant this may be, but I call on supporters of this decision to come forward and have their say – I really would be very interested to hear some justification on the matter.
Cameron went on to say; “”This seems outrageous. The idea that wearing a poppy to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom is a political act is absurd. Wearing a poppy is an act of huge respect and national pride. I hope FIFA will reconsider.”
FIFA have even rubbed salt in to the wound by ‘allowing’ us to have a minutes silence before the game. How very noble of them, allowing us to be quiet before a football match for a minute. This hardly compensate from such a blatant display of disrespect and even bigotry.
Young Academic calls on anyone that feels as strongly about this decision as we do to have their say below, or even send us in your own views for publication. FIFA must be forced to again reconsider this decision and to then make the right one, or alternatively the FA should choose to defy it. Whatever the consequences, they will be worth being able to pay our respects to those that lost their lives for us. With nations such as Germany and Spain supporting us whole heartedly, this does not need to be over. Let us not let FIFA slap us in the face once again!