Is FIFA's Offensive Imagery Rule Being Enforced or Ignored?

Sunday 15th January 2017
FIFA have received a lot of bad press over the last few years, that's no great secret, but the rumours that are circulating about some of the organisations ludicrous rulings are starting to cause a lot of swearing in my local Sky Sports pub – don't believe everything you read but this one really got us going.

I'll start by saying, as far as I know, that the story in question is actually completely fictitious but it spread like wildfire until it was debunked.

In brief, FIFA was allegedly set to impose a sanction on Manchester United for an offensive symbol on their shirts. Initially, we all thought it was Liverpool fans making up terrible jokes about the Man Utd badge offending their eyes but there was more to it than first met the eye as a little research told us.

After the great Poppy debacle that saw England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland's football associations fined for wearing the Remembrance Poppy on their shirts during international matches – it was reported that FIFA would also be looking into other incidents including the Republic of Ireland's Easter Rising imagery and potentially re-opening Manchester United's case of being the Club World Champions and wanting the crest on their domestic shirts.

We still await information on these issues but there was another that caught my eye.

Apparently, due to religious groups and suchlike being god-fearing as a general rule, people find the image of a Devil deeply offensive meaning Manchester United's modern emblem would force FIFA to investigate the issue and potentially fine, sanction and force the club to change their badge without question.

As I've confirmed, this is all utter bull droppings but the fact the story was even thought of means there is a very real chance that FIFA will have to look into the point. Manchester United does have the image of the devil on their club badge, if only for the sake of consistency because United are competing in a UEFA competition this season.

Football's governing body has never had an issue with Poppy symbols on club shirts because the leagues in question are in the countries where the symbol is most relevant. but once you move onto a continental stage it becomes an issue because other nations may be offended by the image.

So how do FIFA tackle this one? Are they aware of the potential issue or are they totally ignorant that their rule is obviously being broken by one of the world's best-known clubs?

Surely consistency is key for FIFA? Or are we still working on the Sepp Blatter system of ignoring the issue until it goes away? Obviously, I don't want to see my club's badge changed as a result of a daft FIFA rule but how can they not if they've fined the home nations for remembering those who fought to give us a future?

I find it all very troubling and I fully expect the story to change from utter rubbish to reality.
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