Friday, 11 November 2011

The FA was wrong about the Poppies...

Now before anyone jumps down my throat I want to point out I've been wearing a poppy for the last 11 days like I do every November.  In my youth as part of the Scouts I was proud to take part in my local parade every year.  I think it is a great symbol, it shows that we have not forgotten those who have fought and died for the freedom that we take for granted.  It also raises a lot of money for a very worthy cause and is something that I hope continues for centuries to come.  

Most who know me know how anti-war I am, it takes some very special circumstances for me to believe that young people risking their lives trying to end other young people's lives is a good thing.  However that does not mean I don't support the soldiers who are doing the risking of their lives.  

That said, in my opinion the Football Association, the Government and Prince William were all wrong to insist that poppies were worn by the England football team.  FIFA's official policy is that no religious, political or commercial adornment may be worn on the team's strips.  I feel this is a perfectly sensible ruling and allows the game to stay neutral - it helps cultures and countries to put differences aside and come together, even for just 90 minutes.  This is what I think sport can be good for.  

By giving this concession to England they are opening the door for other countries further down the line to request similar gestures that could cause friction.  It is impossible for the poppy to be untangled from religious and political connotations, to do so would be denying the fact that any previous war has been fought for either of these reasons - irrespective of your religion or political leanings the poppy has been politicised.  

It's not like the game would not have marked the weekend, there will be a laying of a wreath and a two minutes silence, which will give a chance for everyone to do what the weekend is for, remember those who gave their lives to improve ours. 

...For our tomorrows their today they gave, 
And simply asked that in our hearts they'd live. 
We heed their call and pledge ourselves again, 
At dusk and dawn - we will remember them...

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