It should come as no surprise that FIFA is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The scandal hit organisation continues to display a lack of decency and awareness of public sensitivities. But poppies aren’t the peak of the problem.
FIFA’s announcement that wearing the poppy to mark Armistice Day goes against their rules covering the use of political symbols, has attracted much scorn on these shores. Understandably this was always going to be an emotive subject. To be told by a proven corrupt organisation, that it is incorrect to remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the freedoms we all enjoy, is beyond the greatest insult that could be spoken.
To enforce it as law is criminal.
The poppy doesn’t care about the motives behind men’s wars, it only displays respect and remembrance for the people that gave their lives.
While Armistice Day is held on the day and hour marking the end of World War I on the Western front, it has since combined with Remembrance Day to honour the servicemen and women that perished in both World Wars and every conflict since 1945.
Even this doesn’t add a grey area to the matter. The sight of a poppy doesn’t carry undertones of a political system or make wearers support a certain way of life. Unlike the swastika. From innocent beginnings as a Hindu symbol to attract good force and discourage evil, it became synonymous with the Nazi regime. This means the swastika will always have political connections, regardless of intended use; the poppy is a perfect example of an apolitical banner.
But there has to be a measured argument against FIFA, and it’s displayed on numerous occasions how out-of-touch it has become with the real world. From Sepp Blatter’s defiance in the face of irrefutable evidence, the blind eye it turns to human rights’ atrocities, the amassing of wealth when it claims to be non-profit, and the announcement that the world no longer suffers from racism.
It’s hard to judge too harshly when FIFA clearly exists on a planet alien to the rest of us.
The poppy ban has gathered the most media coverage in this country. England and Scotland already declaring they will defy FIFA on this matter. Failure to do so would have further sanitised the human element of the game that is self-proclaimed “beautiful.” But its beauty is being deformed by the distasteful motives of its corrupt keepers.
But the poppy ban shouldn’t be seen as the breaking point and call to action. That should have come a little over a month ago when FIFA announced its anti-racism taskforce had completed its mission.
If we’d been without a racist incident in ten years we’d still need a task force. As it stands, we haven’t even managed ten months. Add to the fact the next World Cup is heading to a country riddled with the problem, and houses teams that have recently served punishments because of fans’ racist behaviour, the announcement is more maddening.
Racism will always exist, it’s a sad symptom of any society. The taskforce should always exist in order to repel it at the first sign of a re-emergence.
Like all self-serving fascist dictatorships, FIFA broadcasts propaganda as fact. The more feel-good spin it can produce, the better. Let’s all pretend FIFA have ended racism. Another great success story for football’s benevolent overlords.
Oh, and the poppy represents suggestive ideas we should oppose, but don’t worry: in FIFA-world the only politics are the ones we take care of; you can trust us, we even managed to end discrimination and disharmony.
In the real world: Another dark episode from a despicable regime.
FIFA should be guardians of the game but are failing. We should be guardians of morals and ethics in their absence. Failure to contest any incoming punishment for the poppy ban, and widespread demand to make FIFA fund an independent Racism Taskforce, would be an equal failure.
If FIFA is so worried about using the game to send political messages, it should stop and consider its own behaviour. At the moment, it’s reminiscent of those that proudly wore Hindu symbols while imposing deceitful legislation on the unassuming masses.