Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“The decision of FIFA to open proceedings against the Irish Football Association following the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on Remembrance Day beggars belief.
“The IFA had already gone a considerable distance in agreeing with FIFA that players would wear simple black armbands rather than ones which included poppies such as those worn by their English and Scottish counterparts. In doing so they went further than many would have wanted.
“All that took place at the match was a minute’s silence, a wreath laying and the display of a poppy mosaic in the crowd.
“These respectful and dignified acts led to no controversy on the night. This nonsense from FIFA should be immediately dropped.
“I have today tabled a motion with the Business Office which should afford the Assembly to express its feelings on the matter.
“Furthermore, I have asked the Communities Minister to lodge a protest with FIFA about their actions.
“It is ironic indeed that FIFA – an organisation which is global byword for corruption – should seek to bring charges against the Home Nations for remembering the sacrifices in two world wars. Had those wars not been fought there would not have been international teams to compete in the matches.”
Mr Alister’s motion and question reads as follows:
That this Assembly deplores the action of FIFA in opening disciplinary procedures against The IFA over the display of poppies and a minute’s silence held on the Armistice day game against Azerbaijan and calls on FIFA to desist from such insensitive, unnecessary and offensive actions.
To ask Communities has the minister lodged a protest with FIFA in respect of it opening disciplinary procedures against the IFA over the display of poppies and a minute’s silence held on the Armistice day game against Azerbaijan.