FIFA has leveled fines against the English and Scottish FAs for their display of poppies during recent World Cup qualifiers. As a reminder, Russia and Qatar are your hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, so FIFA definitely has the moral high ground. To FIFA’s breathtakingly corrupt eyes, a uniform patch to honor fallen soldiers is a political statement and thus prohibited.
The FA was fined 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,300) by Fifa over the pre-match remembrance ceremonies and wearing of poppies at the World Cup qualifier at home to Scotland in November.
The Scottish FA received a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs, principally for displaying the poppy on armbands, which were worn by both sets of players.
Downing Street described Fifa’s actions as “disappointing”. Prime minister Theresa May’s official spokeswoman said: “Fifa don’t seem to have recognised the sentiment behind poppies – that they are not a political symbol, but are about recognising with pride the role that our brave servicemen and women play.
FIFA took action against the English FA for additional matters believed to include the display of flags with poppies by members of the armed forces and fans, showing the poppy on the Wembley big screens and placing T-shirts with poppies on supporters’ seats.
Wales were also fined 20,000 Swiss francs, Northern Ireland 15,000 Swiss francs and the Republic of Ireland 5,000 Swiss francs over what FIFA described as the display of political symbols.
FIFA bans political symbols and has made clear it considers the poppy to be one.
Here is an article from earlier this year by Fortune Magazine about the modern form of slavery being used to prepare Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. I wonder what sort of fine FIFA will levy for a uniform patch honoring the thousands of migrant worker deaths.
The International Trades Union Confederation, in a December report, estimated from Qatar’s own public health statistics that over 1,000 migrant workers a year are dying, and that the total death toll by the time the tournament kicks off could be as high as 7,000.
“If anything, it’s getting worse, because the overall numbers of migrant workers coming to Qatar are rising,” an ITUC spokesman said.