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Opinion: England Didn’t ‘Rat Ireland Out’, They Just Want To Wear Poppies

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: A poppy is attached to a Queens Park Rangers top during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Brentford at Loftus Road on October 28, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

News broke on Friday that the FIFA are investigating the Republic of Ireland football team for commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising on their jerseys during March’s friendly with Switzerland.

Ireland will almost certainly be found guilty or whatever charge is brought forward because they openly did this and made no attempt to hide it. The reason it is only coming to light now, of course, is the fact that FIFA are refusing to let the England team wear poppies when they play Scotland on Armistice Day.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: The big screen displays a poppy prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on November 8, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The reason given to the FA for refusing to allow this is that it’s a “political statement”, which is forbidden, among other things like sponsors logos, on international kits.

This, naturally, didn’t go down too well in England who, pointing to their neighbours, said something along the lines of: If Ireland can do something for 1916, why can’t we do something to remember British soldiers?

This wasn’t a way of ratting out Ireland, it was a way to try to get poppies on their kits for this game. They believed it should have worked.

In truth, it probably should have. However, this stopped being about remembering the dead a long time ago and has since become England vs FIFA with neither party willing to take a step back.

The FA felt there was precedence set by Ireland and this opened the door for them. The moaning of ‘If Ireland can do it, why can’t we’ may seem juvenile, but they have a point.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 25: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission of image 517529362 with alternate crop.) Eunan O'Kane of the Republic of Ireland during the international friendly match between the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland at Aviva Stadium on March 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

FIFA, on the other hand, had a collective moment of panic when the Ireland kit from March was brought back into the headlines. Unfortunately for Ireland, they are just pawns in this power-play.

World football’s governing body have decided to investigate Ireland eight months later rather than give in to the English, who in turn are more interested in winning this battle with FIFA than remembering those who lost their lives.

Isn’t that what all the soldiers fought for?

Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.