FIFA president Gianni Infantino says Bundesliga players who showed solidarity with George Floyd over the weekend would deserve “applause, not punishment” in an international tournament.
Football’s governing body has, therefore, urged national associations to adopt a common-sense approach when dealing with on-pitch protests and demonstrations amid the civil unrest in the United States.
Borussia Dortmund duo Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi displayed ‘Justice for George Floyd’ messages when celebrating goals during a Bundesliga victory over Paderborn on Sunday.
Schalke’s Weston McKennie sported an armband with the same message and Borussia Monchengladbach attacker Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring against Union Berlin.
These incidents came after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, sparking demonstrations and riots in the U.S. and beyond.
Sancho was booked for removing his shirt, while Hakimi, McKennie and Thuram received no on-field punishment in relation to their tributes. However, the German Football Association (DFB) said it would examine the incidents to see whether sanctions were necessary.
FIFA says competition organisers must “have in consideration the context surrounding the events” before deciding to punish any such on-field incidents going forward.
Infantino went further by suggesting it would go against FIFA’s anti-discrimination and anti-violence campaigns to take action against the likes of Sancho.
“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,” Infantino said in a statement.
“We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination. We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence,” he added.
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