USSF to consider repealing ban on players kneeling during anthem


(Reuters) – The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to consider repealing a policy requiring national team players to stand during the national anthem.

The USSF told Reuters in an email that a vote could come following Tuesday’s conference call or on Friday at the quarterly executive board meeting.

The USSF passed a rule in 2017 that requires players and team personnel to “stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented”.

The policy was put in place after U.S. women’s national team member Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the playing of the anthem prior to a match against Thailand in 2016.

Kneeling has become a symbol of the fight against police brutality used by protesters who have flooded the streets of U.S. cities in the wake of the death of black man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

Colin Kaepernick popularised the gesture of kneeling during pre-game renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016 while a member of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

The move by the USSF to reconsider its position comes after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the league made a mistake not listening to players and encouraged them to speak out and peacefully protest.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris