Gianni Infantino, FIFA president, has said he believes players who protest on the pitch about the death of George Floyd deserve an applause and not punishment.
Borussia Dortmund forward, Jadon Sancho, who scored a hat-trick in his side’s 6-1 win over Paderborn on Sunday, was booked after lifting his shirt to reveal a ‘Justice For George Floyd’ message on an undershirt.
It has been reported that the German Football Association (DFB) is considering disciplinary action against Sancho, as well as others, for a technical breach of the game’s laws.
Under Law 4 Section 5, players are not supposed to have slogans, statements or images that could be deemed political on their kit or other equipment.
However, FIFA has urged governing bodies applying those laws to “use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events”.
Infantino said: “For the avoidance of doubt, in a Fifa competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment. We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination. We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence.”
The death of Floyd, a black American, who was killed when a white police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis last week, has provoked demonstrations and condemnation in the United States and the wider world.
However, footballers in England are not likely to face any disciplinary action for taking the knee, or other peaceful anti-discrimination protests when the Premier League resume this month.
The Football Association said in a statement that it “strongly condemns discrimination of any kind, and has endeavoured to ensure that football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years.”
“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.
“The power of football can break down barriers across communities and we remain deeply committed to removing all forms of discrimination from across the game we all love,” it said.