Bundesliga players are free to show their support for protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the United States, the German Football Association (DFB) said on Wednesday.
The DFB said in a statement that no disciplinary action would be taken against Borussia Dortmund’s Achraf Hakini and Jadon Sancho, Weston McKennie of Schalke 04 or Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram — all of whom signalled their support during matches.
England international Sancho was shown a yellow card after removing his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd”, although the booking was for the shirt removal, rather than the slogan.
Soccer’s world governing body FIFA, which forbids players expressing personal views about politics, religion and social issues on the field, broke with its usual protocol and advised “common sense” in dealing with such incidents.
The DFB said it would take no action against symbols of solidarity with the protests in the U.S. and across the world.
“This line will also be taken should further players make demonstrations on racism and the death of Floyd over the course of upcoming matchdays,” the statement said.
Anton Nachreiner, chairman of the DFB’s control body, said: “It goes without saying that the DFB’s control body always has FIFA and DFB regulations in mind. In this specific case, however, these are deliberate actions of anti-racism by the players, who are thus campaigning for the very values which the DFB seeks to uphold.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said this week players supporting the protests would deserve “applause and not a punishment”.
The sporting world has united in solidarity behind the anti-racism protests sparked by a video of a police officer in Minneapolis kneeling on the neck of Floyd for nearly nine minutes, causing his death.
Players have responsibility to oppose racism, says Bayern's Kimmich
Football players have to acknowledge their responsibility as role models and take a stand against racism, Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has said.
Kimmich was speaking following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week. Floyd’s death has triggered a wave of outrage and protests in the United States.
Several players in the Bundesliga, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakini, displayed their support for the protests during matches last weekend and Kimmich said Bayern had discussed making a joint protest.
“As a football player you have a big power in this world. My opinion is we should feel this responsibility and say something like Sancho did,” Kimmich told reporters.
“What we say to people outside gives us a big chance to make a statement. We discussed it, and maybe we can do something. We have to do something because we cannot give something like this (racism) a place.”
The German Football Association has said Bundesliga players are free to express their support for protests after the game’s world governing body FIFA asked competition organisers to use “common sense” in dealing with such incidents.