Fifa opens investigation into Wales and Northern Ireland over poppy displays
Fifa have confirmed they have opened disciplinary proceedings against Wales after their fans wore poppies to recent games.
The governing body said the poppy wearing incidents occurred during a 1-1 draw with Serbia on November 12.
Northern Ireland is also being investigated for events that happened prior to their 4-0 victory over Azerbaijan.
Both sides chose to adhere to Fifa’s poppy ban prior to Armistice weekend, but they did wear black armbands during their games and honoured the occasion in other ways.
International Football Association Board rules ban ‘political, religious or personal messages’ on teams’ kits, while Fifa ground safety regulations say ‘the promotion or announcement of political or religious messages’ in stadiums is ‘strictly prohibited’.
The Football Association of Wales have said that Fifa are investigating their supporters wearing poppies and the presence of a ‘member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel’.
Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Wales FA, responded to the charge with surprise and disappointment.
‘Our intention was to show respect on Armistice weekend which we feel we did in the right and proper way,’ he said.
‘We also adhered to the rules and regulations of the competition and the communication from Fifa prohibiting the FAW request for the players to wear the poppy symbol on the armbands or the field of play.
‘We are particularly disappointed that one of the charges relates to supporters in the stands wearing poppies.’
The Northern Irish FA have also made known their intention to ‘robustly defend the disciplinary charges’.
Scotland and England are also under investigation after they disobeyed Fifa rules and wore poppies in their World Cup qualifier