DFB: No penalty for protesting soccer players

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – The DFB breaks out of its tight rule corset and leaves protest actions against racism by Bundesliga professionals on the grass free of punishment.

The control committee of the German Football Association decided in Frankfurt am Main that no proceedings against Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi from Borussia Dortmund, Weston McKennie from FC Schalke 04 and Marcus Thuram from Borussia Mönchengladbach should be initiated. They had used various actions and gestures during Pentecost games to protest the violent death of African American George Floyd as a result of a brutal police operation in the United States.

The DFB committee also intends to maintain its line with new anti-racism campaigns in the coming match days. “Of course, the DFB control committee always has the requirements of the FIFA football rules and the DFB regulations in mind. In the specific case, however, these are targeted anti-racism campaigns by the players, which are committed to values ​​for which the DFB also stands and always occurs, “said Anton Nachreiner, the chairman of the control committee. “Therefore, no proceedings will be initiated, even for comparable anti-racism campaigns in the next few weeks.”

Basically, the German Football League (DFL) and the DFB do not allow political messages on the playing attire or during the games. Among other things, the DFB rules state that the players are not allowed to show underwear with “political, religious or personal slogans”. After scoring 2-0 at SC Paderborn, Sancho had pulled his jersey over his head and showed a shirt that reads “Justice for George Floyd”. His teammate Hakimi also wore a shirt with this lettering.

Gladbach’s Thuram sank to his left knee after his first goal in the 4-1 win against Union Berlin and looked down. “No explanation required,” Borussia tweeted during the game with a picture of the scene that everyone immediately understood as a silent protest against racism. McKennie wore an armband labeled “Justice for George” during the game against Bremen (0-1).

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Tuesday that he would not punish the protesting Bundesliga professionals. “To avoid doubt: In a FIFA competition, the latest demonstrations by players in the Bundesliga would deserve applause and not punishment,” said the 50-year-old Swiss citizen in a statement the day before. “We all have to say no to racism and all forms of discrimination. We all have to say no to violence. All forms of violence.”

As President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Alfons Hörmann supported the athletes in their statements against racism and called for “judgment” by associations in evaluating protests. “It is extremely gratifying when athletes live up to their role model role, which is repeatedly demanded, and speak out in such a completely unacceptable development,” said the top official.

The cases do not end up before the DFB sports court. Even before the decision, its judge, Hans E. Lorenz, had “no doubt” that the control committee would deal with the matter “with prudence and judgment”.

“I expressly welcome the far-sighted decision of the DFB control committee and I am very happy about it,” said DFB President Fritz Keller and emphasized again: “The DFB is firmly against racism, discrimination and violence and stands for tolerance, openness and Diversity – values ​​that are also anchored in the DFB statutes. ” Therefore, the actions of the players would have “our respect and understanding.”

As no political, religious or personal messages are allowed under the FIFA football rules, to which the DFB is bound, the control committee checked the facts and obtained comments from the players.

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