Following gestures of solidarity with the slain George Floyd
by four Bundesliga players that resulted in a German federation review panel launching an investigation, FIFA has stepped in and
urged leagues and federations to apply “common sense” in handling such gestures.
The four players under DFB review:
-- American Weston McKennie
"'Justice for George" armband in the Schalke 04 game);
-- Frenchman Marcus Thuram
(kneeling after a goal for Borussia Moenchengladbach);
-- Englishman Jadon Sancho
Moroccan Achraf Hakimi
(both displaying "Justice for George Floyd" T-shirts after scoring goals for Borussia Dortmund).
Sancho was issued a yellow card for removing his jersey.
(Hakimi was not issued a yellow card because he didn't lift his jersey over his head.)
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in
light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” the governing body said in a statement. “The application of the laws of the game approved by the IFAB is left for the
competitions’ organizers, which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”
Removing a jersey and displaying a personal message was
introduced as an offense in 2014. Soccer rules more generally ban “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment.
“FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened its own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such
behaviors,” FIFA added. “FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organized under its own auspices.”
The DFB inquiry came even as its president, Fritz Keller
, saluted McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi for their gestures.
“If people are discriminated against on the basis of
their skin color, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin color, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement. “The victims of racism need all of us to show
He said he was proud of the players who made gestures.
“I can completely understand the actions from the weekend," he added. "Nobody can be
indifferent to what happened in the United States."