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U.S. Soccer requires players to stand for anthem: reports

Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates after scoring her second goal during the Group D match of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup against Australia at the Winnipeg Stadium on June 8, 2015, in Manitoba
Jewel Samad (AFP)
Move came after Rapinoe kneeled during anthem before the Thailand match in protest of social inequality

US Soccer unveiled a new policy Saturday requiring players to stand during the national anthems during international matches -- six months after Megan Rapinoe kneeled before a women's friendly against Thailand.

The policy, reported by Fox Sports and ESPN, was approved last month by U.S. Soccer's board of directors and revealed at the U.S. Soccer Federation annual general meeting in Hawaii.

"All persons representing a federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the federation is represented," the policy reads.

The move came after Rapinoe kneeled during the U.S. anthem before the Thailand match in protest of social inequality, a move in support of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest over social and racial injustice.

Rapinoe had also kneeled during the U.S. anthem with her club team, the Seattle Reign of the National Women's Soccer League, and was denied another chance to do so when the Washington Spirit played the anthem before either team had taken the field for the match.

Fox Sports reported that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati declared the measure had been "unanimously approved" and any punishments for a violation of the policy would be made on a case by case basis.

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