FA to review players who protest racial injustice on 'case-by-case basis'

Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty

The Football Association suggested Tuesday it may not punish Premier League players who show solidarity with George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died in police custody last week.

"The FA strongly condemns discrimination of any kind and has endeavored to ensure that football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years," it said. "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."

FIFA urged competitions to consider waiving rules that prohibit "any political, religious or personal slogans, statements, or images" during games, telling The Associated Press it "fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case."

Several Bundesliga players spoke out against police brutality on the weekend. Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, the son of World Cup winner and activist Lilian, took a knee on the field after scoring a goal on Saturday, and 21-year-old Schalke midfielder and American international Weston McKennie wore an armband with the message "Justice for George" during a match.

Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho also removed his jersey after his goal on Sunday to reveal a similar message: "Justice for George Floyd." Sancho received a yellow card for the gesture.

The German football association (DFB) said Monday that Sancho was booked for taking his shirt off, not for the message he was broadcasting to viewers.

Premier League clubs took time during training sessions to pay tribute to Floyd, who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Liverpool players took a knee around the centre circle at Anfield on Monday, and Chelsea players formed an H for "human" while taking a knee.

Manchester United players Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford each posted powerful anti-racism messages on social media Monday.

"During the past few days I have thought a lot about how to express my feelings about what happened in Minneapolis," Pogba wrote on Instagram. "I felt anger, pity, hatred, indignation, pain, sadness."

The Premier League is set to resume play June 17.

FA to review players who protest racial injustice on 'case-by-case basis'
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