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THE English Football Association has promised to take a “common-sense approach” to players involved in gestures or behaviour promoting the anti-discrimination message.
Under Law 4 Section 5, players are not supposed to have slogans, statements or images on their kit or other equipment which could be deemed political.
The laws state that a match official should ask the player to leave the field and remove the item before returning.
But the FA is clearly prepared to judge examples of players taking the knee or engaging in other forms of political protest related to the #BlackLivesMatter cause on a case-by-case basis.
An FA statement read: “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.
“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.
“The power of football can break down barriers across communities and we remain deeply committed to removing all forms of discrimination from across the game we all love.”
Today saw Newcastle and Chelsea join Liverpool in taking a knee during training.
Newcastle players done so in a similar fashion, kneeling around the centre circle, while Chelsea’s players formed a H, for humans.
Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta said: “It is something where we want to use our position to express that we are living in a world where we have to try to improve it for the future, to be a better world with more love, without hate.
“We have seen recently the result of racism and we see every day that that kind of hate has to be eradicated from society, and we have to play our part.
“There is every day the possibility to lead by example, to behave, to educate the children into a better world because we know that education is key for the future.
“We know the young generation is coming behind us and we want to leave them in a better world with more possibilities without any kind of discrimination or racism, so everything matters and it is time to speak up and to face up to the attitudes that we are seeing. There is no place for all of this.”
Newcastle player DeAndre Yedlin, a US international, posted a series of tweets on the situation in his home country.
“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,” he wrote.
“All we’re asking is we are seen as equal, as more than 3/5 of a man, as humans. My heart goes out in solidarity to George Floyd, his family, and all of the countless number of victims that have had their lives taken at the hands of meaningless police brutality.”
Human rights group Amnesty International says it would “applaud” any athlete making a gesture of solidarity on this matter, including opting against competing in the US.
Its UK director Kate Allen said: “Numerous British sporting figures already speak out about racism and other human rights issues here in the UK, so it’s likely some will be moved to say something about the appalling scenes in the USA.
“As we saw with Liverpool football players this week, taking a knee is just one of the many things sporting figures can do if they want to express their anger at US police violence against people of colour.
“Whether UK athletes go to the United States — or anywhere else — will always be a matter for them, but from black power salutes in the ’60s through to Colin Kaepernick’s famous gesture in 2016, sporting stars have shown they can make important human rights interventions.”
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