Apologies up front but this is another rant from me. What is it with FIFA? The latest pathetic activity from them is to ban the England players from having a Poppy on their shirts for the friendly match with Spain on Saturday. Apparently it would be in breach of their rule that players’ equipment (which includes the shirt) should not carry any religious, political, commercial or personal slogans. I’d like to know which one of these the wearing of a Poppy would break. It is a symbol to commemorate and remember those who died not only in the First and Second World wars but all of those who have died in active service in the armed forces.
The Poppy is worn in up to 120 countries, although in some of those mostly by expatriates. But other countries have a symbol to commemorate their war dead in a similar way. In France for example it is the Blue Cornflower. England will have Poppies on their training and warm up kit which will then be auctioned for charity, they will also wear black armbands for the match. Additionally FIFA have allowed a minute’s silence before the game. Forgive me but what the fuck has a minute’s silence before a football game got to do with FIFA?
FIFA are in fact a charity. A very rich and most likely (the proof is out there I’m sure!) very corrupt organisation. Sepp Blatter’s promise to make the organisation more transparent after recent scandals seems to have made everything even more opaque. Including awarding business contracts to companies owned or partly owned by his nephew. Personally I think Blatter makes Berlusconi look like an angel. Even forgetting the World Cup hosting bid from England how the hell did they manage to award the 2022 tournament to Qatar? It’s too hot, has an atrocious human rights record and frankly is hardly a hot bed of world football.
Here’s an interesting recent fact about the charity that is FIFA. One of its less well off members, Mauritius, had a cash shortfall of some £42,000 which meant that they were unable to travel to or organise their World Cup qualification games. How did the caring, sharing charity that is FIFA respond to this? They disqualified them from the competition, probably completely within the letter of the regulations. But wouldn’t the charitable thing to do be to bail them out? After all FIFA are sitting on cash assets in the region of £800 million. But I guess they need that for their next all expenses paid junket or their Christmas party. Thinking of Christmas like to recycle my Festive Fir Tree every year and I think next time I’d like to recycle it by shoving it right up Blatters backside!
Having just finished writing this post I have now heard that FIFA have offered a compromise solution; England will be allowed to show a Poppy on their black armbands. What’s the difference between a Poppy on the shirt and one on the armband? Not a lot in my opinion and this another example of FIFAs inept style of management. Should you ever have a piss up in a brewery do not let FIFA anywhere near the organising committee!
Anyway let me wind down the rant just a bit and what better way to finish this post than with a song about the famous football match between British and German soldiers one Christmas during the First World War.