23/11/2016 16:06 GMT

Gary Lineker Slams Fifa For Taking Action Against Wales Over Fans Wearing Poppies

'Can we have a referendum to leave Fifa?'

Gary Lineker has expressed disbelief at news that Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Wales for supporters in the stands and a member of the armed forces holding poppies during a World Cup fixture. 

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) on Wednesday issued a statement confirming the football governing body’s disciplinary committee was to evaluate their case on December 9. 

Fifa rules forbid “political” statements on shirts.

Reuters Staff / Reuters
Fifa is holding a disciplinary hearing over fans displaying poppies during Wales World Cup clash with Serbia 

The body announced earlier this month that it was investigating England and Wales players for wearing black armbands bearing a poppy during their recent World Cup qualifier which England won 3-0 at Wembley on Armistice Day.

Theresa May recently labelled the ban “outrageous”.

FAW said Fifa had told the association that it had launched proceedings against it following Wales’ World Cup Russia qualifier against Serbia at the Cardiff City Stadium on 12 November.

The disciplinary proceeding, the FAW said, “are in relation to incidents involving the display of poppy symbols” and included some supporters in the stands wearing a poppy; a member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit tunnel; a fans mosaic depicting the poppy displayed during the anthem of Wales and a banner depicting the poppy displayed by supports before the match. 

The FAW said it had “paid its respects to those individuals who had made the ultimate sacrifice in a dignified and humble way while at the same time respecting the rules and regulations of world football’s governing body Fifa”.

Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the FAW, said: 
“Naturally as an association we are disappointed and surprised at the news.

“Our intention was to show respect on Armistice weekend which we feel we did in the right and proper way. 

“We also adhered to the rules and regulations of the competition and the communication from FIFA prohibiting the FAW request for the players to wear the poppy symbol on the armbands or the field of play. 

“We are particularly disappointed that one of the charges relates to supporters in the stands wearing poppies. Naturally as an association we will strongly contest the charges.” 

The FAW has until Tuesday to provide a statement and relevant evidence.