FIFA urges ‘mutual respect’ in response to Trump tweet on US Soccer

June 15, 2020

FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, responded to President Trump’s tweet rebuking U.S. Soccer for repealing its ban on players protesting during the national anthem.

The organization called for “tolerance, mutual respect and common sense” after Trump’s denouncement. Trump tweeted he “won’t be watching anymore!”

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“FIFA strongly advocates for tolerance, mutual respect and common sense when such important matters are debated,” FIFA said in a statement to the Associated Press. “FIFA has a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of all forms of discrimination in football, as outlined in the FIFA Statutes. We must all say no to racism and no to violence.”

U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe was the first white athlete to support Colin Kaepernick when she kneeled during a National Women’s Soccer League match in 2016. U.S. Soccer adopted the rule in 2017 to require players to stand for the national anthem. Rapinoe said she would comply but would not put her hand over her heart.

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The rule was reversed last week.

FIFA added that its president Gianni Infantino’s “position on the player’s rights to express themselves against racism, discrimination and violence was clearly stated two weeks ago and it has not changed.”

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Infantino supported the on-field protests against police brutality and for racial injustice last week after American midfielder Weston McKinnie wore a “Justice for George Floyd” armband while playing for Bundesliga’s Schalke in Germany.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.