London (AFP) – Premier League players are unlikely to face disciplinary action if they take a knee or make any other peaceful anti-discrimination protest when the English season resumes.
The shocking death of George Floyd, killed when a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis last week, has provoked riots and protests across the world.
Football stars, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, have shown support for the Black Lives Matter cause during matches.
The English Football Association will adopt a “common sense” approach to political gestures, slogans and statements if players or staff publicly back the movement once the Premier League restarts on June 17.
It is understood taking the knee after a goal, as Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram did on Sunday, would be unlikely to attract any sort of sanction.
“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,” an FA statement said on Tuesday.
“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.”
Following the example of Liverpool on Monday, Chelsea and Newcastle players were the latest teams to take a knee in a show of solidarity during training sessions on Tuesday.
Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin, a United States international, posted a series of heartfelt tweets on the situation.
“A couple days after George Floyd’s death, my grandfather texted me and told me he’s glad that I am not living in the U.S. right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man,” he wrote.
“Every American needs to ask themselves, is there ‘liberty and justice for all’ and if their answer is yes, then they are part of the problem.
“In no way are we asking black lives to matter more than white lives. All we’re asking is we are seen as equal, as more than 3/5 of a man, as humans.”