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FA is unlikely to punish protests

Support: Chelsea take a knee yesterday, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta tweeting: ‘We are all HUMANS’ PICTURE: GETTY

FOOTBALLERS in England are unlikely to face any disciplinary action for taking the knee or other peaceful anti-discrimination protests if matches are able to resume this month.

The Football Association has said it will adopt a ‘common-sense approach’ to interpreting the laws of the game around political gestures, slogans and statements if there are any examples of players or staff supporting the #BlackLivesMatter cause.

The death of George Floyd, killed when a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis last week, has provoked demonstrations and condemnation in the United States and the wider world.

Sports stars — including Lewis Hamilton, who said last night he had been ‘completely overcome with rage’ at what has been unfolding — clubs and governing bodies have shown solidarity with the cause and the FA has indicated its understanding and tolerance of individuals wanting to protest.

‘The FA strongly condemns discrimination of any kind and has endeavoured to ensure football in England is both diverse and inclusive in recent years,’ said the governing body. ‘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 and we remain deeply committed to removing all forms of discrimination from across the game we all love.’