David Cameron calls Fifa's England poppy ban 'absurd'


David Cameron

David Cameron has called the ban on England's footballers wearing poppies on their kit "outrageous".

Fifa rules mean teams cannot wear shirts carrying political, religious or commercial messages.

The prime minister says the decision not to allow players to wear poppies during England's friendly with Spain on Saturday is "absurd".

He said: "Wearing a poppy is an act of huge respect and national pride. I hope Fifa will reconsider."

David Cameron wants football's ruling body to reverse the decision that is stopping the team having the remembrance symbol embroidered on their shirts.

Fifa officials turned down the special request, made by the FA, claiming it would "open the door to similar initiatives" across the world.

The organisation says it has always been consistent in its approach.

However, it will allow a minute's silence to be held before the game.

It has also given permission for the England players to wear poppies on their training kit at Wembley on Friday and to stand for the traditional two minutes' silence to mark Armistice Day on Friday.

Members of the Armed Forces will be on the pitch at Wembley at the start of the game and 500 servicemen and women will watch in the stands.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has since asked Fifa to reconsider in a letter to the world governing body's general secretary, Jerome Valcke.

Robertson has also enquired whether Wales players can wear poppies on their shirts for their friendly against Norway in Cardiff on Saturday.

England's game against Spain is live on ITV1, BBC Radio 5 live and online at 5.15pm on Saturday 12 November. Wales' game against Norway at Cardiff City Stadium is on Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and the BBC website on Saturday 12 November at 3pm.

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Matthew Pond: "Fifa shouldn't be allowed to dictate what we do with our shirts. It's a sign of respect. I'd just do it, what are they going to do, rip the shirts off the players backs?"

Charlie Robbins: "If the players are not allowed to wear the poppy then they should stand up for what they believe in and refuse to play."

Dave Stead: "[It's] not a new rule and as they say, they don't want to start ruling on 'what's allowed and what isn't' but it isn't a political statement, it's remembrance for ALL."

Paul Graham: "The reason the poppy isn't allowed is because no other country gets to wear things like that on their national tops. If Fifa allow the poppy, they'd get a laundry list of countries asking to have things put on their tops."