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Fifa should remember why we wear poppies.

I THINK it's important for Sepp Blatter to remember that there wouldn't be organisations like Fifa without soldiers giving their lives for freedom.

Yes we know he's Swiss and he's already played up to that stereotype by saying he was neutral in this absurd row about international players not being able to wear poppies on their shirts because it contravenes the Fifa rule book.

But even though he claims to know little about the row, the organisation is shaped by the man at the top.

The wearing of poppies on the actual shirts wouldn't have hurt Fifa. Remembrance Day isn't political, it's not religious or a whim of a big organisation.

It's about respect.

Respect for people who gave their lives in defence for the idea of freedom and because of that Fifa are quite within their rights to stop home nations remembering the dead with an embroidered shirt.

Enough died to give Fifa that autonomous right.

England's Peter his support for Unlike Blatter's beloved Switzerland - who sent 31 troops and withdrew completely in 2008 - in this country we've all too frequently seen bodies of our troops returning from Afghanistan via places like Wootton Bassett.

Three hundred and eighty five have been lost in that war alone and players feel an affinity with those soldiers.

They're roughly the same age and even mega-rich footballers understand that while one group has everything, the other put themselves in extreme danger for peanuts.

Whatever you feel about the justification for the wars themselves, you can have nothing but respect for the young men and women who go and fight them.

Fifa say they are an organisation all about "respect". But really what they are about is power and money.

Look at their recent decisions, such as Qatar gaining the vote to host the 2022 World Cup, they aren't made in the best interests of the game or the fans, but in the best interests of Fifa's finances. That's what matters to Fifa.

The poppy appeal doesn't feed into Fifa's coffers, so it's easy to quote rules to stop them appearing on the breasts of Wales and England players tomorrow. Fifa don't benefit from it and until Wednesday evening they didn't understand what the fuss was about until they bowed to massive political pressure.

Fifa say they want to stay away from politics, well through being so clueless and insensitive they got themselves completely embroiled.

Thank God there was a way through this absurd stance. Both Wales and England players will now wear poppies on black armbands during the game and the armed forces will be well represented at the matches in both capitals.

Crouch shows Poppy Appeal In many ways this row has put Remembrance Day firmly in the public eye and I'm not going to idealistically say Blatter should visit one of the cemeteries of Northern France or speak to a family who have recently lost someone, because there really is no point.

Fifa think they are above these sorts of things and once again they've misjudged the mood of the ordinary football fan.

Just imagine if Hitler's Germany had won WI, Fifa would be some trumped-up organisation run by a despot with the beautiful game fixed left, right and centre to bend to his will.

Thank God that didn't happen, eh Blatter?


England's Peter Crouch shows his support for the Poppy Appeal Fifa's Sepp Blattter has misjudged the mood of the Welsh and English fans
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion, Columns
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 11, 2011
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