Let’s discuss the hypocrisy of FIFA over racism…

Black Lives Matter – Actions Speak Louder Then Words by Dan Smith

Last weekend, after scoring, Jadon Sancho chose to remove his shirt to unveil a message ‘Justice For George Floyd’.

Sancho knew he would get a yellow card, not for the message but simply because it’s long been in the rules that removing of the Jersey will result in a booking. Clearly to the winger it was worth it to do his bit in spreading a message.

Other parts of the world held protests (some more productive than others). Clubs have released images with their squads taking a knee, while Tuesday saw several huge institutions online (including Arsenal’s Twitter) black out in solidarity.

I feel sorry for the officials in the Bundesliga who have been thrown under the bus by the authorities. The FIFA president had the nerve to suggest ‘In a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations would deserve an applause not punishment’

“We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination. We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence.”

Sorry? Referees were not showing cards last weekend because they don’t agree with the sentiment, they are acting because you told them to. It was a rule those in charge of the game inserted nearly two decades ago to avoid any sponsors being offended.

I remember Thierry Henry twice scoring against Man United in 2001 and twice showing writing on his long sleeve thermal – ‘I did it for the West Indies’ (The French media didn’t like this).

You see it’s easy for Gianna Infantino to give a PR friendly answer but why doesn’t he simply implement the change, just order from now on removing of the shirt to be not worthy of any sanction?

The thing is that it is easy to do for an injustice with the majority agreeing with each other, but how exactly can you – in the FA’s own words. ‘Any breach of the laws will be judged by a case by case basis‘? How do you do that?

How do you decide what is a topic you want to challenge, and what issues are not allowed to be discussed? Who are you to play god with your players’ values and beliefs by telling them which subjects are allowed/not allowed to be written on your shirt?

That’s why your FIFA, FA and UEFA (in a bid to boost their image) contradict their words with their actions. Don’t get me wrong, of course they are appalled by the events in America, but what do they do to spread awareness?

They will pay this lip service but remember these are the same governing bodies who fined Bendtner more money for having advertisers on his boxers then Bulgarian fans for racial abuse. They clearly saw having a betting company on your underwear worse than national TV showing young men doing the Nazi salute.

In the UK football is watched by so many kids, what a chance for the sport to educate but we miss that opportunity. So, for the next few weeks players have the green light to say how they feel about police treatment of different races?

Yet if Ozil wants to spread awareness of how many Muslims he believes are being mistreated in China that’s not okay?

You have to check with your TV networks and brands?

What about The Prince of Saudi Arabia wanting to buy Newcastle?

Are players allowed to start a discussion on that country’s human rights record? I guess we can’t have youngsters reading shirts having ago at a family who shook hands with our Queen. What about the homeless?
The Poor? Can we have those messages on shirts or will Adidas, the Emirates, etc, not approve?

So, if a player wants to take a knee, that’s their choice, but don’t use a real-life tragedy to make out you encourage free speech. If you were serious you never would have censored the likes of Henry, all those years ago.

Forget about how players celebrate, what are those in charge of the game doing to show they do not tolerate racial prejudice? What are they doing to show to society that if you walk into one of their stadiums, this is a sport that has a zero-tolerance policy?

You see, lots of people are marching, when in reality the police officer has been charged. Some are not being the solution, but furthering the problem by using this as an opportunity to break the law, an insult to the Floyd family. This won’t be changed by shouting loud and stamping your feet.

In the short term, the world will move on until the next victim. We know that by history, how many cases like George Floyd have we seen for decades? There is no quick fix. It’s about educating, changing the mindset and teaching that next generation that you simply will not accept that type of evilness. But you really need to want to make that change.

That’s where Football has such a responsibility based on their young following.

Take the Bendtner example I gave earlier, that teaches them that what Bulgaria subjected our players to was wrong – but only to a point? That Chelsea fans were wrong to abuse Sterling – but not enough for a stadium ban or points deduction. I could mention examples at the Etihad, Emirates, Old Trafford, etc.

So, the hashtag is Black lives matter. Footballers are being encouraged to acknowledge that by taking a knee, and the FA, FIFA and UEFA might even let you take your shirt off, but what are they doing to show us Black lives really matter?

Be kind in the comments…

Dan Smith


  1. At the risk of being deleted – as I EXPECT TO BE – for straying off directly Arsenal matters, I much applaud this article and the stance it takes. What Dans excellent article shows in graphic detail is the mass hypocrisy that pervades almost all of of us as humans. I have long argued that hypocrisy is a realistic part of our shared human condition. It may be a sobering thought but very few humans can avoid being hypocrites , so of course the football authorities, being humans, say one thing and do another. It is not what we wish but it is what happens in various and very diverse ways in almost all human spheres and activities.

    Racism will only finally be defeated when NO ONE ANYWHERE, mentions “black” or “white” humans. True evolvement of our species will only come when superficial differences in our “packaging”( i.e. our shape, age, skin shade, sexual orientation, and all other perceived “differences” that matter to non evolved folk but not to evolved people) are not noticed at all and not of any relevance. That deep into the 21st ceNtury world leaders and millions of dunderheads still think it of relevance what packaging humans wear, is a sign of theIr own retardation. Eventually, sometime in the hopefully short term future, ALL those retards will be gone but we have a sacred duty, in the meantime, to hurry up this process of rescuing that significant minority of retards who still inhabit our planet from their Neanderthal attitudes. Zero tolerance by ALL society at whatever personal cost is paramount.

  2. Dan- I have to say I probably look forward to your articles above any other on this site. This one is such a relevant topic in these times but I applaud the way you have kept it in focus and relevant.
    @Ken1745- please don’t take offence. Just keep on writing your player profiles PAL. They too are well worth the read.

    1. Phil, why would I take offence about something I agree with 100%?

      Dan’s articles always raise current issues, without any bias, welcomes interaction, answers questions and very rarely do we see any reply deleted.

      My articles are purely remembering past players (in the main anyway) and just need a little research alongside my own memories and thoughts.

      Once again Dan, I can only congratulate you on this superb article and agree 100% with all you say – along with Jon’s excellent reply.

  3. Surely whoever thought of the phrase black lives mattter, doesn’t realise how racist that is.

    1. All lives cant matter when black lives are being taken by the very people there to protect. Thats the whole point in “black lives matter”. I like this site, I like reading the articles and comments as i like seeing other peoples opinions on arsenal but, after these few comments here I’m quite disappointed. The fact that you support arsenal, which has several players of colour including Auba who had a banana thrown at him (remember that?) And you cant stand with these players and people of colour during this time tells me you only see these players as entertainers and their feelings and identity means absolutely nothing. You only care because they’re doing well for Arsenal, who they are and what they stand for means nothing.

      1. I genuinely feel that there has been a mix up here. I never cease to be appalled by an organisation such as the police condoning racism from some officers in their ranks – especially as in the past justice has not always seen to be done.

        I agreed with Reggie’s sentiment that all lives should matter and the black lives slogan in itself can be open to misinterpretation. I’m sure that is what he meant as you can see from his later post.

        I do stand with Auba and I cannot imagine how it must hurt and disgust players of colour – or anyone come to that who has been on the receiving end of vile racism.

        As a woman in society I still don’t always get equal pay and conditions, as a woman in certain societies I could be killed at the hands of my own family, or sent into prostitution to support that family. I might even have my genitalia mutilated as part of some ghastly ritual.

        There is so much injustice but what we can do, is to do is our best to stamp out the wrongs. I hope that the death of George Floyd is a catalyst for change rather than a fleeting moment in time

  4. A very interesting read and thought provoking too.

    I absolutely agree that what happened to George Floyd and many other black-Americans before him was appalling – a disgrace. Such incidents are happening all the time, all over the world to all different creeds but is it right that players should use their shirt in a match to show solidarity to a particular cause? Years ago, Robbie Fowler wore a white T shirt under his jersey in support of the dock workers. Was that an acceptable thing to do while wearing a Liverpool shirt?

    I have absolutely no problem with individuals speaking out against injustice. I would encourage anyone to do so if they feel that wrongs need to be put right. Sancho IMO should not have done what he did during the game. Lewis Hamilton has spoken out several times now as an individual not as part of the Mercedes team platform and I respect that. I applaud Sancho’s humanity but just suggest he might have been better served to put out a statement condemning the police actions In America instead. In different non Covid times I would recommend joining a march or peaceful protest

  5. What has happened in America to George Floyd is disgusting and people should pay but will all the stupid irresponsible protesters please stop breaking the law and putting everyone at risk again. STOP BEING SO STUPID.

  6. I wonder if in 5/10 years time we’ll still be having this conversation? One would hope not… but seeing as this has been going on for as long as I can remember, we more than likely will be…
    I was going to post a long comment, but think it’d be taken down as it isn’t about football…

    Dan.. I just want to say your articles have been outstanding during lockdown… I want to thank you for all the effort you’ve put in and please keep them coming. We’re very fortunate to have you here on JA.
    PS.. I can’t wait for your next lot of predictions!

  7. OK i got one of my comments deleted earlier speaking on this issue and i understand that this site is all about football but as the article itself is about the issue i think i will say this



  8. Outstanding write up. Hypocrisy is how we are where we are in world sociopolitical affairs. Lip service. If FIFA was to really tackle racism alongside the national FAs, football has the capacity to change our collective future.

  9. Can i just say, that all the protesters who think its right to protest like they are doing under lockdown, are brainless idiots. We are in the midst of a virus pandemic and they are showing no regard for the safety of us all. They are losing me on their plight because of their stupidity and lack of regard for others. Its not black lives that matter but all lives and they are putting people’s lives at risk. They dont get the irony of what they are doing.

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