Arsenal players came to me to ask to take the knee against Slavia Prague, says Mikel Arteta

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Simon Collings
·1-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has revealed his Arsenal players came to him before Thursday’s Europa League match with Slavia Prague to ensure they could take the knee before kick-off.

Players have been taking the knee before matches since last year as a show of support in the fight against racism and discrimination. Every team has been doing so in the Premier League, but in UEFA competitions it is left up to clubs to decide if they wish to do so, with Slavia Prague choosing to link arms in a show of support instead.

Thursday’s game came just 24 hours after Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was handed a 10-game ban by UEFA for racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.

Arsenal wanted to make sure they could continue to make the gesture, with captain Alexandre Lacazette taking the knee right by the centre-circle in front of the Czech side.

“The captains came to me and asked me to do that, and I just supported them like the club did,” said Arteta.

“They asked me and the club that they wanted to take that initiative. They had the right reasons for it, so the club was very supportive.

“I was supportive and thankfully the referee, and UEFA, they’ve been supportive. So I think it was a good gesture.

“They came to me, they wanted to take that initiative. We spoke with the club to make sure that we could follow the rules of UEFA and we can do it in the right way.

“We decided to take that approach, which I really like from the players, and I must say that UEFA was very supportive as well.”

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