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After AP’s analysis, a FIFA softens policy on activist protest

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Rob Harris, London-based global soccer writer, studied how soccer has applied rules against activist protest without considering the impact of major issues outside of sports. Harris wrote his analysis after a player for Borussia Dortmund, Jason Sancho, received a yellow card for showing his undershirt with a handwritten message of support for the George Floyd protests, contrary to the rule for players not to lift their jerseys in celebration.

“Rarely has a rule looked so out of touch,” Harris wrote, noting that the killing of Floyd had resonated far beyond the United States. After the piece, FIFA reconsidered its policy and urged organizers to show common sense.

The AP story was widely cited in other media. Piara Powar, head of European soccer’s anti-racism monitor, the Fare network, tweeted: “Credit to @RobHarris for understanding the importance of allowing players to make a stand against injustice and for human rights without the ridiculous prospect of being sanctioned for it.”

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