Fifa backs down on England poppy ban with compromise deal
ENGLAND players will be able to wear poppies on their black armbands on Saturday after Fifa agreed a compromise with the Football Association.
The compromise means that Fifa's rules preventing symbols on shirts are still adhered to, but will allow the poppies to be displayed.
An FA statement said: "The FA can confirm that Fifa has agreed that the England team will now be permitted to wear a poppy on the black armbands the players will wear during Saturday's match with Spain.
"While continuing to adhere to the laws of the game, wearing the poppy on the armband does ensure the poppy will be visible throughout the game.
"The FA welcomes Fifa's decision and thanks them for agreeing to this."
The announcement should bring an end to the dispute which led to both Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William, pictured, in his role as president of the FA, writing to Fifa to ask them to reconsider.
William penned a strongly worded note privately to Fifa expressing his dismay at the move.
Cameron also wrote to the organisation, assuring it that there were "no political connotations whatsoever" associated with the poppies.
Less than an hour after the letters were made public, Fifa announced that it would allow England's players to wear a poppy on their black armbands during Saturday's friendly match with Spain.
A spokesman for St James's Palace said William was pleased with the decision.
The spokesman said: "The Duke is happy with this resolution."
A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Cameron welcomed Fifa's decision, saying: "It's a sensible way forward."
A Royal British Legion spokesman said: "The Royal British Legion is delighted that England players will be able to wear their poppy with pride. As we said earlier, there are other ways of honouring the poppy than wearing it on your shirt – the armband will do nicely. Now everyone can concentrate on enjoying the game."
It is understood that the compromise was proposed by a Conservative MP and facilitated by a Fifa adviser – even though there was opposition from some within the world body after they were targeted two protesters from the English Defence League.
The two men climbed onto the roof of Fifa's headquarters in Zurich with a banner, with two poppies on it, which said: 'English defence League. How dare FIFA disrespect our war dead and wounded. Support out troops'.
The incident won no support from the FA, given that the EDL are a far-right group whose founder Stephen Lennon was convicted in July of leading a street brawl with 100 football fans.
The FA also announce a series of other measures to show their support for the Poppy Appeal.
All England Under-21, Under-19s players and staff will be wear poppies before and after their matches tomorrow evening, and observe a one-minute silence.
On Friday at training at Wembley the England squad will observe the two-minute silence at 11am, all wearing training tops embossed with poppies.
Ahead of the Spain game, a poppy wreath will be placed on the pitch during the national anthems, with military representatives in the presentation party prior to kick-off before which will be a one-minute silence and the England players will wear black armbands.
The Royal British Legion, who organise the Poppy Appeal, said there were other ways other than having the poppies on the England shirts.
The Legion's director general Chris Simpkins said: "There are other ways to honour the poppy than by wearing it on a shirt. The FA has helped us explore every alternative available.
"We are satisfied that England will show proper respect for our Armed Forces."
The Football Association of Wales have also confirmed that they will wear black armbands with a poppy on them for their match with Norway.