FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that footballers in Germany calling for justice for George Floyd during matches deserve applause rather than sanctions.
The German Football Association (DFB) is investigating Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s French forward Marcus Thuram for their tributes to Floyd at the weekend.
“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,” Infantino said in a FIFA statement.
“We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination. We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence.”
Earlier FIFA called on football leagues to use “common sense” when deciding whether to discipline footballers for displaying political messages.
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” world football’s governing body said in a statement.
After scoring in Dortmund’s win at Paderborn on May 31 England winger Sancho lifted his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd.”
His teammate Hakimi and McKennie expressed similar calls for justice, while Frenchman Thuram, the son of World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, took a knee after scoring for Gladbach in memory of Floyd.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport’s lawmakers, bans players from showing “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.”
However, pointing to its own anti-racism campaigns, FIFA intimated that no action should necessarily be taken against Sancho, Hakimi or McKennie.
“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,” FIFA said.
The DFB is investigating the players in line with IFAB’s laws, although president Fritz Keller said he understood their actions.