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Fifa should 'see sense' over poppy ban - culture secretary

Wayne Rooney wearing a poppy at the World Cup qualifier on Armistice Day Image copyright PA
Image caption Fifa says the poppy is a "political" symbol that goes against its rules

A cabinet minister has urged Fifa to "see sense" and drop disciplinary action against England and Scotland for wearing poppies on armbands during a match on Armistice Day.

The FAs of both countries were charged by world football's governing body after their teams wore the armbands for a World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Fifa said teams were not allowed to wear "political" symbols when playing.

But Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said the action should be withdrawn.

Fifa made its position clear in the build-up to the game on 11 November, saying it was applying its rule 4.4 concerning political, religious or commercial messages.

England and Scotland chose to defy the sport's governing body, wearing black armbands with poppies on for the game, which England won 3-0.

Conservative MP Mrs Bradley, who was at the match, said she was pleased to see both players and fans commemorating Britain's war dead.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics, she said: "I urge Fifa to see sense in this and withdraw the threat of sanctions.

"If a player wants to wear a poppy, they should be able to do so, as should fans."

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Irish Football Association (IFA) have also been charged over incidents including "fans wearing poppies".

TFAW revealed the Fifa charge after the Wales match against Serbia on 12 November. The IFA is under investigation over Northern Ireland's game against Azerbaijan on 11 November.

All four nations now face the possibility of a fine and the deduction of World Cup qualifying points.

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