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Nemanja Matic Explains Decision Not To Wear A Poppy

The Manchester United midfielder explained his decision to abstain from a wearing the poppy which stands as a symbol of Remembrance Day.

After James McClean released a defiant statement via Instagram in response to the abuse he received while playing for Stoke against Middlesborough, he was greeted by both support and criticism and now, he is under an FA and an internal investigation.

Nemanja Matic was another whose decision not to wear the poppy caused some controversy – albeit on a lesser level.

And while there were some who spoke out on the potential reasons for his decision to do so, Nemanja himself posted a lengthy statement to his official Instagram page, one that gives insight into his childhood and how that has affected his decision.

View this post on Instagram

I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict. However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999. Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don't feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt. I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined. I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.

A post shared by Nemanja Matic (@nemanjamatic) on

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at