EXCLUSIVE: England players will receive NO sanctions if they take the knee during this month’s World Cup qualifiers as FIFA continue relaxation of their ban on ‘political, religious or personal statements’
- England will not be punished if they take the knee in this month’s internationals
- FIFA normally have a ban on ‘political, religious or personal statements’ in games
- But world football’s governing body relaxed these rules in the middle of last year
- England defender Tyrone Mings has backed the gesture amid recent criticism
The FA have received assurances from FIFA that England’s players will not be sanctioned if they take the knee ahead of this week’s World Cup qualifiers.
The triple-header against San Marino, Albania and Poland will be England’s first matches in a FIFA competition since they began showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement last September by kneeling before kick-off, a gesture that in normal circumstances would be a breach of FIFA rules.
FIFA Law Four states that it is an offence for players to make ‘political, religious or personal statements’ — but the world governing body relaxed their position following the murder of George Floyd last summer and told competition organisers to use common sense when enforcing the rules.
England players will not be punished for taking the knee this month, the FA have been told
FIFA relaxed their ban on ‘political, religious or personal statements’ in the middle of last year
The FA sought clarification from FIFA that this guidance remains in place, as Southgate’s players are eager to continue demonstrating their support for racial equality when San Marino visit Wembley on Thursday.
England defender Tyrone Mings spoke in favour of taking the knee on Monday after critics such as Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha claimed that the gesture was losing impact.
‘This is a demonstration of the injustices that different races within football have felt,’ said Mings. ‘We have unified the sport in a pre-game anti-racism message.
Tyrone Mings spoke in favour of taking the knee despite recent criticism over the gesture
‘It is so powerful and it is something we shouldn’t let go. I haven’t heard one substantial argument as to why we should stop it.’
Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford is a doubt to face San Marino because of a foot injury.
It is hoped that the Manchester United forward will be fit for the matches against Albania and Poland.