FIFA signals support for in-game George Floyd solidarity messages

Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund celebrates scoring his teams second goal of the game with a 'Justice for George Floyd' shirt during the German Bundesliga soccer match between SC Paderborn 07 and Borussia Dortmund at Benteler Are

On a day when Liverpool's players and coaching staff went down on one knee in the Anfield centre circle to express solidarity with those protesting against Floyd's death, Sanjay Bhandari told the Guardian there was nothing political about footballers standing against racism and called on the German FA (DFB) not to sanction Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram for leading protests in the Bundesliga against police brutality in the US.

FIFA urged football competition organisers on Monday to apply "common sense" and consider not sanctioning players demanding justice for George Floyd during matches.

Floyd also said "I can't breathe" before he died.

After scoring in his team's win at Paderborn on Sunday, Borussia Dortmund's English winger Jadon Sancho lifted his shirt to reveal the message "Justice for George Floyd".

The latter action has become associated with former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the American national anthem before matches in protest against the oppression of black people and the number of African-American deaths caused by law enforcement.

The Laws of the Game, which all FIFA-affiliated teams must follow, are clear on the matter: "Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images" and that "players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer's logo". If you score a goal and take a knee could everyone do that?

"According to the DFB constitution, the control body's task is to ensure that the DFB's constitution and regulations are adhered to and to examine the circumstances surrounding violations", said DFB vice-president Rainer Koch. "There are of course opportunities before and after the match for these kinds of things", he added. "It remains to be seen whether sanctions are necessary in the cases at hand".

"We need responsible players like them and I am proud of them", he said. Morally, I can absolutely understand the actions last weekend.

"Sometimes, I wish players would take even more responsibility", he said.

'Where any behaviours or gestures on the pitch that may constitute a breach of the laws of the game have to be assessed, they would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with a common sense approach and understanding of their context.

However, pointing to its own anti-racism campaigns, Federation Internationale de Football Association intimated that no action should necessarily be taken against Sancho, Hakimi, Thuram, or McKennie. "BlackLivesMatter" while Manchester United forward Rashford said society is "more divided than ever" in a powerful anti-racism message. "As a club we are committed to being a part of the solution, and we are joining our voice to all those calling for fairness, equality and meaningful change".



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