FIFA president: Anti-racism messages deserve applause, not punishment
Christian Verheyen / Borussia Moenchengladbach / Getty

FIFA pledged support Tuesday for footballers demonstrating against racial injustice after a now-former police offer killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis on May 25.

Last weekend's displays from Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram, Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, and other Bundesliga players led to speculation they could face sanctions if soccer's authorities construe their acts as political messages.

England's Premier League said Tuesday it will review players who protest racism on a "case-by-case basis" when play restarts on June 17.

FIFA, however, praised the likes of Thuram and Sancho for their anti-racism messages and calls for justice amid the United States' ongoing problem with police brutality.

"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," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in Tuesday's statement.

He added: "We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination. We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence."

Soccer's world administrative body and its six confederations have been criticized over the years for not adequately dealing with the issue of racism in the sport. FIFA itself set up an anti-racism task force in 2013 before it was dissolved in 2016 after it "completely fulfilled its temporary mission."

Nevertheless, FIFA stated it has recently made amendments to its disciplinary rules in an attempt to eradicate racism, and it noted the organization's regular anti-racism campaigns around matches.

FIFA president: Anti-racism messages deserve applause, not punishment
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