Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Infantino: Don’t punish Bundesliga players

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:25 AM
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino stepped into the debate about Bundesliga players who protested during matches against the death of George Floyd, saying that they should be applauded and not punished.

Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho was booked for taking off his jersey during a Bundesliga match so he could display a T-shirt emblazoned with “Justice for George Floyd.”

Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie carried the same messages on their body at the weekend in a technical breach of the game’s laws that led to the Germany federation saying it was considering a disciplinary case despite expressing pride in their actions.

Floyd, a black man and former community college basketball player, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and stopped pleading for air. His death has sparked protests across the United States and in other countries.

“For the avoidance of doubt,” Infantino said, “in a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment.”

Infantino’s comments were published in a statement by FIFA and were set to feature in a letter to all 211 member associations. The statement also urged leagues to apply “common sense and have consideration in the context surrounding the events.”