Tomorrow England take on Scotland in a World Cup qualifier in a match which should have been all about an on the pitch rivalry which, although both countries have faltered in recent years, is all about wanting to beat the Auld Enemy no matter what. Instead what we will get as the two teams walk out is a show of solidarity between the two nations as the FA and the Scottish FA stick two proverbial fingers up at the incompetent, scared footballing bureaucrats at FIFA.
Incompetent because instead of Ireland’s display of a logo celebrating the centenary of the Easter Rising being an example of FIFA’s laws being relaxed we now can assume FIFA had no idea what was going on because they have no decided they are going to discipline the Irish FA, sorry Ireland! It seems England and Scotland’s crime was to actually ask permission to wear a poppy armband! What we should have done is worn the armbands and got on with the game.
And scared because I get the impression that FIFA is playing a game of bluff. England and Scotland have told FIFA they are going to defy the ban with FIFA responding by saying any kind of sanction is possible. OK, so what is the sanction? FIFA knows England and Scotland are going to defy the ban, surely they must know what the punishment will be or are they, as I suspect, hoping England and Scotland will back down and the controversy will all blow over?
So I’d just like to give a word of warning and a piece of advice to those at FIFA who seem to have an exaggerated belief in their own importance to the modern game, England and Scotland are not going to back down so let the Home Nations wear their poppy armbands and instead get on with trying to deal with the real problems in today’s game like the corruption which has seeped into your own organisation.