Fifa have opened disciplinary proceedings against Northern Ireland and Wales in relation to the display of poppy symbols during their recent internationals.
Despite the two associations agreeing not to wear poppies during their games to mark Armistice Day, the governing body has decided to take action because of several displays of ‘political messages’.
England and Scotland defied FIFA’s regulations by wearing armbands with a poppy when they met in Wembley and they too face disciplinary action.
Both Northern Ireland and Wales wore plain black armbands and the players did not wear they poppies, but, by holding a minute’s silence and laying wreaths at the side of the pitch- they were in breach of FIFA rule 4.4 concerning political, religious or commercial messages.
A FIFA spokesperson said: “The Disciplinary Committee decided to open proceedings against the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales in relation to several incidents involving the display of poppy symbols reported after the matches Northern Ireland-Azerbaijan and Wales-Serbia respectively.”
All four nations now face a fine and a possible points reduction in their World Cup qualifying groups. This would come as a major blow to any of the nations, as Wales, England and Northern Ireland are right in the mix for qualification.