Poppy day: Sheffield sports club shows what it thinks about “stupid” FIFA

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Tony Smith, owner of the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey club, has poured scorn on football governing bodies for their stance on wearing poppies over to mark to mark Armistice weekend.

England and Scotland teams both risked punishment from FIFA for wearing black armbands bearing a red poppy.

An England player's arm band tribute

An England player's arm band tribute

Fifa do not allow “political statements” on shirts.

Last night, in a sport unfettered by such restrictions, Steelers players wore a kit with a poppy specially designed into it, as a mark of respect for the fallen men and women in the armed services.

And 8,137 fans joined in the tribute with a minute’s silence at Sheffield Arena.

“As you can see there is no stupid rule in our league stopping us wearing a poppy” Smith said in his match-night programme notes.
“It represented the millions who died in Flanders during the 1914-8 war. It was the only flower to grow on the barren battlefields where the worst of the fighting was.
It is a celebration and a tradition which we should all respect.”
The club also auctioned off the shirts to make a donation to the Remembrance charity.

Paul Thompson, Sheffield Steelers....and his proudly-worn Poppy

Paul Thompson, Sheffield Steelers....and his proudly-worn Poppy

All the coaching staff also wore poppies.

*Steelers went on to hammer their nearest rivals 8-1, in a memorable night at the House of Steel.