FIFA urges 'tolerance and mutual respect' after US president Donald Trump's anthem kneeling rebuke
FIFA appealed Monday for 'tolerance, mutual respect and common sense' after US President Donald Trump denounced the annulment of a policy that required football players to stand during the national anthem.
FIFA appealed Monday for "tolerance, mutual respect and common sense" after US President Donald Trump denounced the annulment of a policy that required football players to stand during the national anthem.
"I won't be watching much anymore!" Trump tweeted Saturday.
Trump retweeted a tweet by Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who wrote: "I'd rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won't stand for the National Anthem."
It was United States captain Megan Rapinoe kneeling in support of Colin Kaepernick that led to the US Soccer Federation adopting the rule in 2017. It was annulled last week after American soccer leaders acknowledged a change in sentiment among the public since the death of George Floyd sparked global anti-racism protests.
"FIFA strongly advocates for tolerance, mutual respect and common sense when such important matters are debated," world football's governing body said in a statement to The Associated Press when asked about Trump's comments. "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."
FIFA President Gianni Infantino introduced Trump at a dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, expressing a desire to "make sure that the 'American dream' becomes reality, not only in America, as we have seen, but all over the world."
I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem.
You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) June 11, 2020
In response to Trump's tweet, FIFA said 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."
Infantino signaled support for on-field protests after American midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband while playing for Schalke in Germany with the handwritten message "Justice for George" around his left arm.
The latest edition of the tournament – which features the champions of the six continental confederations along with the top team in the host nation – was due to be played at the end of this year in Japan before it pulled out as host because of the pandemic.
Infantino, who is working with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to gain support for World Cups every two years, claims the plans would help more nations qualify to play on the biggest stage.
International Olympic Committee expresses concerns over FIFA's controversial biennial World Cup proposal
Though IOC President Thomas Bach said last month we will not interfere in this discussion, his organisation stepped in on Saturday after meeting in Athens to detail objections it shared with football stakeholders.