|England's soccer players will wear black arm bands to honour their armed forces this weekend after FIFA ruled they couldn't wear poppies on their jerseys. (REUTERS/Paolo Bona/Files)
England's soccer players will wear black arm bands during their game Saturday against Spain after FIFA ruled they couldn't wear poppy-clad jerseys.
The Football Association (FA) announced the black arm bands Wednesday and said a poppy wreath will be on the soccer pitch during the national anthems. The players will also wear training tops with poppies on them on Saturday and poppy-embossed jackets during the national anthems.
"The training tops embossed with poppies will be passed onto (armed) forces' charities post-match as auction items for fundraising," FA said in the statement. "The poppy will be visible around Wembley on Saturday, on the scoreboards and advertising boards, and poppy sellers will be in the stadium to allow supporters to donate to the poppy fund and show their support."
The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) ruled on Nov. 5 the poppy could not be worn on the jerseys because regulations state equipment can't carry "any political, religious or commercial messages."
The Royal British Legion said it agreed with the FA's move.
"There are other ways to honour the poppy than by wearing it on a shirt," legion director general Chris Simpkins said in a release. "The FA has helped us explore every alternative available and we are satisfied that England will enter the competition knowing they have shown proper respect for our Armed Forces."