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.
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.
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