Friday, November 11, 2011

Poppy ban embroils the Nation - FIFA & FA at loggerheads

Nations are addicted to sports – with over 40,000 association football clubs, England has more clubs involved in the code than any other country.  English and European fans are mad about the game. 

Opium poppy, [Papaver somniferum]  is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine. The Latin botanical name means the "sleep-bringing poppy", referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates.  There are millions addicted to opium. !! – poppy is in news now, not due to the addiction but due to a ban. The ban made the entire Nation worried – the Duke had to intervene.  The British PM had earlier urged the players to flout the ban.

Now UK is seemingly happy for the ban on poppy has been reversed – it follows an intervention from the Duke of Cambridge, who wrote to Fifa in his role as president of the Football Association.  The Duke expressed his dismay at the decision not to allow England players to wear the commemorative poppies at a friendly match.  After the Fifa retreat, the Scottish FA said Scotland players would also wear the symbols for their game against Cyprus on Friday. The Welsh FA is considering its position before Wales takes on Norway.

It all started with Fifa telling FA that embroidering the shirts would break rules on political symbols, "jeopardising the neutrality of football", and pointed to "a variety of options where the FA can continue supporting the cause of remembrance. One of them already was approved by Fifa, the period of silence."  Despite having been in place for a long time, it is a rule that has singularly failed to perturb the FA in nine previous Novembers of yore. 
English player Joe Heart sporting a poppy
& the logo on the shoe of player
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football)  is commonly known  by the acronym FIFA.  It is  the international governing body of association football.  FIFA is responsible for the organisation and governance of football's major international tournaments, most notably the FIFA World Cup, held since 1930. Nineteen editions of the FIFA World Cup have been held so far. The next edition is to be held in Brazil in 2014.  The Football Association, imply The FA, is the governing body of football in England, and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It was formed in 1863, and is the oldest national football association. Based at Wembley Stadium, London, it is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the game of football in England, both professional and amateur. The FA is a member of both UEFA and FIFA and holds a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board.


Prince Philip with poppy on coat
Photo courtesy (dailymail.co.uk)

Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty since World War I. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.  emembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918.  The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields". These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war. The remembrance poppy has been used for decades now to commemorate soldiers who died in the World War.

Now after the protests, FIFA has backed down over the FA’s demands that English players have the right to wear poppies.  Playing fields are also places of display of sentiments and politics….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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