Theresa May has launched a withering attack on FIFA for refusing requests for England and Scotland footballers to wear poppies.
Lashing out during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, she added that FIFA – which has been dogged by corruption scandals – should “sort their own house out” rather than interfering with a British tradition.
Many Labour and Tory MPs believe the England-Scotland game on November 11 has special significance as it falls in the centenary year of some of the First World War’s most deadly battles.
FIFA bans political or religious messages on shirts, but it was forced to allow England players to wear black armbands embroidered with poppies in 2011, after pleas from David Cameron and FA president Prince William.
May told MPs: “The stance taken by Fifa is utterly outrageous. Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security.
“I think it is absolutely right they should be able to do so.I think a clear message is going from this House. I should say to Fifa before they start telling us what to do they jolly well ought to sort their own house out.”
May was responding to Labour MP Steve McCabe, who had asked her to tell the English and Scottish FAs, as well as FIFA, “that in this country, we decide when to wear poppies”.
Former Secretary John Whittingdale today said England should be prepared to have points deducted if it went ahead and defied the FIFA ban.