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Darren Fletcher backs Scotland and England decision to wear poppies at Wembley

Published 07/11/2016

Darren Fletcher (right) and his Scotland team-mates will wear pink kits at Wembley
Darren Fletcher (right) and his Scotland team-mates will wear pink kits at Wembley

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher insists his country is right to defy FIFA and wear poppies against England.

The Scottish Football Association, along with their English counterparts, have said the teams will wear poppies on black armbands when they meet in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.

It goes against a FIFA directive which prohibits political, religious or commercial messages on shirts and the governing body has warned both associations that they could face sanctions.

But ahead of the Group F game at Wembley, with England top and Scotland fourth, West Brom midfielder Fletcher believes the visitors are doing the right thing.

He said: "First and foremost I think everyone would love to wear the poppy and wants to wear the poppy to show our respect. FIFA have their rules and you understand why but hopefully common sense prevails.

"I don't want to talk too much about it and what the consequences are for us because it's important to concentrate on the game but the players would love to show their respects by wearing the poppy.

"You can see today how much it means to people. There was a bit of a misunderstanding at the start (of the minute's silence in Sunday's game, a 2-1 win at Leicester), the Albion fans were in the concourse singing and were not aware of what was going on out on the pitch.

"It caused a bit of confusion, Albion fans would not have done anything like that intentionally. It was a great occasion and everyone should pay their respects."

A points deduction could be one option open to FIFA but Fletcher remains unconcerned over any potential penalties.

"I'm not even thinking about it. We have a game to play and things like that get taken care of by people in higher places than me," said the 32-year-old former Manchester United player.

"My focus is the game, England v Scotland, and trying to get three points for my country which would be massive at Wembley."

Scotland are also set to play in pink shirts with FIFA ruling the white sleeves on their blue home kit clash with the light blue sleeves on England's home strip but Fletcher insisted the colour matters little.

"Again, you'd like to think common sense will prevail but at the end of the day the Scotland badge is on the pink strip and that's all that matters," he said.

"Once you start playing it doesn't matter what colour your wear, you're representing your country."

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