Posted: 11/4/2016
Title: POPPYGATE

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       Lets not get carried away !  The outcry about FIFA refusing to allow the Homw Nations to wear a poppy on the sleeves of their jerseys to commemorate the sacrifices of all British and Commonwealth service personnel from World War l onwards, has caused front page headlines in the tabloid press and Theresa May, the Prime Minister, lambasting FIFA from the front bench of the House of Commons.

      In fact it was only in 2011, when FIFA, under a much more corrupt regime than today, allowed armbands to be worn and Premier League and Football League clubs have had the poppy on their jeresys annually, 93 years after the ending of The War to End All Wars.

      The villain of the hour is 54 year old Senegalese FATIMA SAMOURA the new FIFA General Secretary on a salary of £1 million annually in Zurich after 20 years working as a diplomat and fixer for the United Nations. With no football background she was the surprise choice after so many tarnished FIFA top brass were forced to resign or were fired. She stated that ' Britain is not the only country that has suffered from the results of war. Syria for example and my own African continent'.

     Evidently her job might have been a reward by President GIANNI INFANTINO for helping deliver the African votes for his election campaign.. She is a graduate of The University of Lyon and is married with three children.  With a magnificent full head of hair she might be able to offer a real hair toupee for the bald Infantino. According to some well rumoured comments from high up officials in another confederation than UEFA, The Swiss/ Italian may be no better than Sepp Blatter when it comes to looking for favours and perks,

      The Football Association CEO Martin Glenn and his counterpart at the Scottish FA in Glasgow Stewart Regan, have threatened to defy FIFA and go ahead with the poppies. FIFA article 4 states that associations should not wear political or religious symbols. I remember entering the stadium in Lyon, France at FIFA World Cup 1998 prior to Iran v USA when thousands of mass produced signs saying 'IRAN, 3,000 YEARS OF HISTORY' were confiscated and dumped in great piles prior to kick off.

      A few weeks ago at a Russia 2018 qualifier between Iran and South Korea, spectators (men only) were ordered to wear black and a religious demonstration was held before the match and again at half time. FIFA fined Iran 20,000 Euros a day or so a few days ago  Croatia, at a recent match v  Turkey in Zagreb played in an empty stadium after fan troubles at EURO 2016 ..Croatia were in trouble again last month at a Kosovo v Croatia match played in Shkroda,  Albania, in whivh Croatia won 6-0. Both fans before the match and inside the stadium chanted 'KILL THE SERBS' . Croatia fans also shouted 'WE ARE USTASA'. referring to the Croatian World War ll fascist movement that killed thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists. They also shouted the Ustasa slogan  " Za dom spremni"  Ready for the Homeland'

        Argentina allowed signs and protests at an international match in  Buenos Aires stating that Malvines (actually The Falkland Islands) should be part of Argentina. A war was fought in 1982 and the Argies surrendered in less than 10 weeks. The AFA was also fined.

     In 2016 at a friendly in Dublin between Ireland and Switzerland the FAI commemorated the centenary of THE EASTER RISING and if that isn't political I don't know what is. I don't think the FAI were punished.  Chile were ordered by FIFA to play one match away from Estadio Nacional in Santiago due to homophobic chanting from the terreaces and Mexico, Salvador, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador fined for similar chanting. 

    The England v Scotland match will be held on Friday 11th November at Wembley Stadium, ARMISTICE DAY, the day that is annually commemorated to witness the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the guns fell silent. A former player, Danny Mills, has suggested than the English and Scottish players wear temorary tattoos on the back of their hands and as both national anthems are played they should put their hands over their hearts, as USA national teams do in all sports.

     I cannot see FIFA docking points but maybe a fine of say £30,000.00 max. Surely Gareth Southgate, the overpaid latest England coach, would volunteer to pay that and tell his young kids that their trip to TOYS R US is cancelled. Maybe BIG SAM--remember him?? could also chip in.?

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