Premier League players who want to protest the death of George Floyd will now be able to do so without fear of punishment.
The Football Association, England’s soccer governing body, announced on Tuesday that it would be adopting a “common sense approach” to players who protest by taking a knee or using equipment to spread their message.
“The FA strongly condemns discrimination of any kind and has endeavored to ensure football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years,” a Football Association spokesperson said on Tuesday. “Where any behaviors 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.”
Both Liverpool and Chelsea took a knee during training this week in memory of Floyd, who died in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Sanjay Bhandari, the chairman of soccer’s equality and inclusion organization Kick It Out, urged every team to take a knee on the field once games begin to protest the death of Floyd.
The Football Association’s decision stands in stark contrast to the actions of the German Football Association (DFB). Three Bundesliga players are being investigated by the DFB for displaying messages in support of justice for Floyd during games last weekend, and one is being investigated for taking a knee in memory of Floyd after scoring a goal. Those actions violate the International Football Association Board’s rules against "any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images".
However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was supportive of the four Bundesliga players and their actions.
FIFA President Infantino on @Sanchooo10 & other players facing potential punishment for #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd messages: “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."
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 2, 2020
The Premier League is scheduled to resume on June 17.
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