FIFA is calling for “tolerance, mutual respect and common sense” after President Donald Trump criticized the annulment of a policy that would no longer require soccer players to stand during the national anthem, according to the Associated Press.
“I won’t be watching much anymore!” Trump tweeted in response to a report about Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s disapproval of the annulment.
I won’t be watching much anymore! https://t.co/s8nCg9EJSW— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2020
Trump later retweeted a tweet by 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. You shouldn’t get to play under our flags as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised.”
I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem.— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) June 11, 2020
You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised.
The policy that required soccer players to stand during the national anthem was adopted by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2017 after United States captain Megan Rapinoe knelt in support of Colin Kaepernick.
According to AP, the policy was annulled last week after American soccer leaders acknowledged a change in sentiment among the public following the death of George Floyd which ignited anti-racism protests worldwide.
When asked about Trump’s comments, the organization offered the following statement to the Associated Press: “FIFA strongly advocates for tolerance, mutual respect and common sense when such important matters are debated. 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.”
In response to Trump’s tweet, FIFA said its organization’s president Gianni 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,” AP reports.