Day Twenty Two

Day 22

The public spat of the week is, again, England versus Fifa. This time, it's because Fifa won't allow the England team to wear poppies stitched into their shirts when they play Spain on the Saturday before Remembrance Day. 

This time, for the first time, I'm in agreement with Fifa. Sport is supposed to transcend politics, religion and cultural differences. Sport is supposed to enable us to leave all the baggage on the sidelines for an hour or two. Are the poppies political or religious? To us Brits, no they aren't. To others, they potentially are. We can start an international argument about where we draw lines regards decorative fittings to shirts. Or we can do the sensible thing and just maintain the status quo, and not have the argument.

We've managed to play international footy games for the ninety years since the poppy was adopted, without wearing poppies. And without having a hissy fit about it. There will be a minutes silence before the game. The poppy appeal gets all the publicity it needs. No one in the UK can get through November without passing by a poppy box.

This argument seems to me to simply be for the sake of having an argument. Worse still, the argument could turn the poppy itself into a patriotic, nationlistic symbol. Which it isn't, and shouldn't, be. I support the poppy appeal. There's my poppy, featured in my photo of the day. I didn't need to see one on an England shirt to buy it.

Gary Denness

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