I'm bracing myself for some flack here, but I think FIFA were right.
For those that have not being paying attention the English football scene is all hot under the collar because FIFA said that our brave lads couldn't have shirts with a poppy emblazoned on them for their friendly international against Spain on Saturday. FIFA have a rule no political, religious or commercial messages may be worn on shirts during a match. England bleated that poppies are none of these things but a statement of remembrance for those killed during conflict.
I come from a military family and strongly believe that it is important to honour the dead. I wear a poppy with pride and encourage my children to do so to. Remembering the dead is important and should not be trivialised in any way.
And herein comes my problem. England have played football internationals during the beginning of November some 37 times since 1918 and not once have they ever worn a poppy on their shirt. Why now?
Could it possibly be to do with the fact that English football is under pressure. The England captain stands accused of making racist comments, it seems that most of the rest of the team are unable to stay faithful to their wives for longer than it takes to down a glass of champagne and everyone thinks the amount of money they are paid is obscene. There is a genuine feeling of antagonism towards these indulged boys and their equally spoilt football entourage.
Maybe I am becoming more cynical in my old age but is it outside the realms of possibility that there was a conversation in the English FA that went something along the lines of this:
"hey we really need to get the general public back behind us, what can we do. I know, lets get them wearing poppies, that'll go down well with the tabloids. What FIFA won't let us? Even better! We can kick up a right old stink, get everyone behind us as we pluckily stand up to that corrupt organisation to honour our boys. It's a total winner!"
However hard I try, I can't shake the feeling that it is the English FA that is trivialising the wearing of the poppy and all that it stands for. Much as I loathe FIFA, I do think this time they were right.
(I've got a whole other post about how cross I am at feeling the poppy has been hijacked by nationalist agendas but I have to pick the boys up from school so it'll have to wait and don't even start me on the comprimise they have adopted - my blood pressure can't take it).