EUROPEAN footballing body Uefa has said it will not take any action against players who chose to express their support for the black American George Floyd by revealing messages demanding justice during matches.
Over the last week, the whole world has been in turmoil over the death of Mr George, who was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis during an arrest. On Monday last week, Mr Floyd, 46, was pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin while being arrested for allegedly using a fake $20 note in a shop.
He subsequently died and the anger over his death has led to widespread demonstrations across the US and worldwide over racism and police brutality. In footage of the arrest, Mr Floyd can be heard saying he could not breathe, before he is seen being lifted on to a stretcher and into an ambulance which took him to hospital where he later died.
Protests have spread throughout America and the rest of the world over the arrest, with many sports stars joining in the condemnation of racism by the US police. With football due to resume as the lockdown over Covid-19 eases, it is likely that many footballers may wear T-shirts under their tops expressing solidarity with Mr George, demanding justice and calling for an end to racism.
Historically, Uefa and Fifa have opposed footballers making political statements but this time around, they will back any protests, particularly as it fits in with their campaigns against racism. Last weekend, several players, including Borrussia Dortmund winger, Jadon Sancho, revealed messages expressing solidarity with Floyd during Bundesliga matches.
Uefa president, Aleksander Ceferin, said: “Football is a sport which encourages tolerance, inclusion and justice. These are the same values being espoused by those showing solidarity to George Floyd.
“If a player in our competitions were to display a message or act symbolically to ask for equality for human beings the circumstances around the event should be taken into account in line with Uefa’s zero-tolerance against racism.” Fifa has already urged football competition organisers to apply common sense and consider not sanctioning players demanding justice for Floyd, during games.