Football’s world governing body has decreed that England and Scotland must not wear poppies during their World Cup game at the weekend. This would be a political statement they claim. So they’ve banned it. Threatening to fine both football associations and perhaps even deduct qualifying points should their ruling be ignored.
FIFA’s affairs are well documented. No sensible person would allow them to run a bath as things stand right now.
But wait a moment. This is the same FIFA who said nothing when Algeria called off their international against Ghana this summer because they refused to host Ghana’s manager Avram Grant. Mr Grant an Israeli is Jewish. What did FIFA do about this political statement? Nothing.
This month new reports reveal that the Egyptian Football Association instructed its national team manager Hector Cuper not to shake hands with Mr Grant at their World Cup qualifier against Ghana in Alexandria on Sunday.
What could be more political than that? So what did FIFA say? Er...nothing. To his credit Mr Cuper has refused to obey the order and now puts his own future at risk.
In a new development the Egyptian FA say they’ve uncovered a plot to attack Mr Grant during the game. Local supporter groups have threatened to ‘harass’ the former West Ham and Chelsea manager from the moment the Ghana plane touches down. And FIFA’s response?
They’ve opened disciplinary proceedings on the Republic of Ireland after reading in the media that they wore Easter Rising commemorative shirts during a game back in March.
Lest we forget, the ECB, domestic cricket’s bosses defended Moeen Ali’s right to wear his ‘Free Palestine’ wristband when playing for England against India in 2014.
Next day ICC cricket’s world governing body banned it but by then his political message had been seen by all and sundry.
Down the years sports stars and footballers in particular have revealed t-shirts during play broadcasting their political, personal and religious ideologies.
What is it with these people that they believe they have the right to inflict their opinions on the rest of us? We admire and celebrate their abilities and skills. They really should keep to themselves everything not connected to their sporting gifts.
We have to rid sport of these own goals. And return international fixtures to what they should be. Sporting spectacles to enjoy, cheer and admire.
And if England and Scotland wish to display the red poppy which is a symbol of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future so be it. How can that possibly be seen as a political, religious or commercial statement?
What do you say to that FIFA? Mmmm. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.