George Floyd death: Footballers should 'feel free' to protest, says Kick It Out chair

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Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Footballers should “feel free” to protest over the death of George Floyd and “should take a knee”, says Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari.

Protests have been held in the US after Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after being restrained by Minneapolis police.

England forward Jadon Sancho was booked for unveiling a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ t-shirt after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Bhandari said players taking a knee would be a “very powerful image”.

“If they feel they want to protest, then they should. They should feel free to do that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

“It’s a fundamental human right to express your beliefs. My suggestion is that they should take a knee.

“I would say that taking a knee when you score a goal and have the whole team do it, the referee is not going to book an entire team. It’s a very powerful image and a gesture of solidarity.”

On Monday, Liverpool players took a knee around the centre circle at Anfield during training while Manchester United players Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford added their voices to worldwide protests against racism.

African-American Floyd died on 25 May after being restrained by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes to pin him down.

Chauvin has since been charged with his murder and sacked.

Bhandari, who became chair of the anti-racism body in September, called for German football authorities to apply “some common sense and context” amid any further disciplinary action against Sancho.

In a statement, Fifa said it “fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns” expressed by players in light of Floyd’s death.

Football’s world governing body added competition organisers “should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events”.



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