Fifa 'rejects' Wales request to wear poppies against Serbia

Wales players wore poppies on their armbands in the 2011 friendly win over Norway
Wales players wore poppies on armbands in their 2011 friendly win over Norway
World Cup qualifier: Wales v Serbia
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Saturday, 12 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website and app.

Fifa has rejected a request from Wales to wear poppies on their shirts or on armbands in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Serbia, the Football Association of Wales says.

Wales will wear black armbands instead, while fans at Cardiff City Stadium will form a poppy mosaic before kick-off.

Football's world governing body Fifa prohibits any political, religious or commercial messages on shirts.

But England and Scotland will defy this in their match on Friday.

Both nation's football associations will let players wear black armbands with poppy emblems and are willing to accept any punishment.

Fifa has since said that reports of a ban on wearing poppies are a "distortion of the facts".

Wales manager Chris Coleman defended the FAW approach on the eve of facing Serbia

He said: "Of course we back the FA. There's a lot been said about it, the fact the game's live on TV tomorrow night, we're standing by the rule that Fifa put in place, we've been respectful of that and I back our decision.

"Remembrance Day is today (Friday), though, and that's when we'll be showing our respects in the right manner, as we always do.

"We're very respectful of Remembrance Day, we know the sacrifices that were made by the men and women who lost their lives for us.

"So we'll be showing our respect today in the right and proper manner."

Wales lay wreath for Armistice Day

Coleman was asked if some of the criticism aimed at the FAW stance was unfair.

He replied: "That's the way it's going to be. There will be certain people, unfortunately, using it as a vehicle to give their opinion.

"Whether or not they like us or not, maybe it's an excuse to have a little dig at us.

"I'm quite sure other people are using it for their own benefit - that's how it is, unfortunately, sadly.

"To say that we're not being respectful, given the measures we're going to today and tomorrow... the criticism will come but we don't listen to that, we'll ignore that."

England Under-21 wore poppies on black armbands during their win over Italy on Thursday night.

Football Association of Wales (FAW) chief executive Jonathan Ford earlier said: "Fifa have turned down a request made by the FAW for the Wales National Team to wear poppies on their shirts or on armbands.

"It has therefore, been decided that Wales will wear black armbands during their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying match against Serbia.

"The FAW naturally wishes to respect and honour those who fought and lost their lives fighting for their country.

"We felt unable to take the risk of a financial penalty or point deduction. However, as we always have done at this time of year, we will be paying our respects in other ways."

Members of the Flanders Welsh War Memorial at Langemark will be in attendance at the match as invited guests of the FAW.

A delegation of Welsh management and players will also visit a war memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

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