In light of the terrible and tragic death of George Floyd, football’s world governing body, FIFA, have moved to issue an unequivocal statement backing the players if they wish to demonstrate in such instances.
Jadon Sancho was just one to make a stand this past weekend, when he threw off his shirt and revealed a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ t-shirt, detailed by CaughtOffside.
He wasn’t alone as Weston McKennie, Marcus Thuram and Achraf Hakimi all used their platform to make similar protests, per Sky Sports Germany.
In future, it appears that such instances, whilst not necessarily encouraged, will not be punished by a yellow card.
‘FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,’ FIFA’s statement began.
‘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 behaviour.
‘FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices.
‘The application of the Laws of the Game approved by the IFAB is left for the competitions organisers which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.
‘FIFA President Gianni Infantino adds: “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.
‘”We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination.”
‘”We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence.”‘
It does open up the possibility of just how far one’s protest could be allowed to go before being deemed as unacceptable in FIFA’s eyes, but for now, it’s good to see the governing body coming out with a strong message.
In the case of George Floyd, with such high profile organisations shining a light on this terrible act, it can surely only be viewed in a positive manner and may well help in the attempt to change the dynamic and the conversation surrounding race issues once and for all.