#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd: FIFA say go easy on sanctions, clubs urged to take a knee

June 2 – FIFA has urged competition organisers to apply “common sense” when considering whether to sanction players who show solidarity with the George Floyd protest movement during matches.

Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has sparked the worst mass race riots in the United States since the end of the 1960s and last weekend four players in the German Bundesliga registered their symbolic support for the African-American.

Acknowledging the “depth of sentiment” FIFA said leagues should not automatically enforce football’s laws against political messages and slogans.

“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.

“The application of the laws of the game… is left for the competitions’ organizers, which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”

The head of Britain’s anti-discrimination Kick It Out body has urged all players to “take a knee” for Floyd when football returns in England because “we’re all hurt by racism”.

Sanjay Bhandari has called on every Premier League player to show solidarity in the wake of Floyd’s killing  whilst at the same time urging the German authorities not to punish those who made a stand.

“I hope there will be a degree of leniency shown by the German authorities,’ Bhandari said, adding that taking a knee, the gesture started by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in protest against social injustice and police brutality,  could not be sanctioned under football’s laws against political slogans.

“I wonder if that’s the thing I would encourage if players want to protest. If you score a goal and take a knee could everyone do that?” he told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “Not just the black players. The white players too – everyone. “

Liverpool’s squad was pictured kneeling during training on Monday under the caption: ‘Unity is strength. BlackLivesMatter’.

Bhanjari added: ” Racism’s not about black players or brown fans, it’s about all of us. Racism corrodes society and we’re all hurt by it.”

“If every player did that it would be quite a powerful message. I would be interested to hear what the authorities thought of that, whether it would constitute a breach of the rules. To me that is about demonstrating solidarity.”

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