The Football Association have hinted that players who choose to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement during matches will not face punishment, pledging a ‘common sense’ ‘case by case’ approach to in-game incidents.
Over in the Bundesliga, Marcus Thuram, Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi and Weston McKinnie all chose to show their solidarity for George Floyd, whose killing by a police officer in Minneapolis sparked protests in America and across the globe.
The German Football Association expressed pride in its stars’ actions but also deemed it necessary to launch an investigation to determine whether the aforementioned players should face punishment (with players not allowed under FIFA law to display messages on undergarments — whether political or personal). Sancho received a yellow card for removing his shirt after scoring.
Meanwhile, as several Premier League clubs and stars have demonstrated their own support for the movement on social media, the English FA have stated that it will look to support players who wish to promote an anti-discriminatory message, once action resumes later this month.
A statement on Twitter read: “The FA strongly condemns discrimination of any kind and has endeavoured to ensure that football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years.
“Where any behaviours 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.”
Many Premier League stars have already taken to social media to express their solidarity towards the protests.
The likes of Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have both pledged their support to the movement, while teams like Liverpool and Chelsea have both taken a knee to join the protest.
Speaking to the Guardian, Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandar urged all top-flight players to take a knee as a show of support.
He said: “Every player should do it. It should be teams doing it. You saw the Erling Haaland celebration after the first game back where all the Borussia Dortmund players did the social distancing celebration.
“They could all take a knee. 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. Everyone should want to demonstrate their solidarity and disgust.”
The Premier League is set to get back underway on 17 June, over three months after the last fixture was played.
The first two games will see Aston Villa host Sheffield United and Arsenal travel to face Manchester City, before a full round of fixtures takes place that weekend.
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