Fifa ask leagues to use ‘common sense’ over Floyd protests

Monchengladbach’s Thuram takes the knee after scoring his side’s second goal on Sunday. (AP pic)

BERN: World football’s governing body Fifa have asked competition organisers to use “common sense” with players who display messages of protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the US.

Fifa regulations bar players from displaying any “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on their kit. Since 2014, this ban has included undershirts – a response to players lifting up their shirts to display a message when scoring.

However, several players protested during matches in Germany’s Bundesliga at the weekend, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi displaying undershirts with the message “Justice for George Floyd” on Sunday.

Schalke 04 defender Weston McKennie displayed the same message on his armband in another game while Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram knelt to honour Floyd after scoring against Union Berlin.

The German Football Association have said they were reviewing the incidents where the message was shown.

In a statement on Tuesday, Fifa said they “fully understand the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case”.

They added that applying the laws of the game was the responsibility of competition organisers, such as domestic leagues, who Fifa said “should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events”.

“Fifa have repeatedly expressed themselves to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened their own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such behaviours,” they added in the statement.

“Fifa themselves have promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices.”