Premier League players to stop taking the knee with racism protest reserved for ‘significant moments’

·2-min read
Premier League players will stop taking the knee before each match  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Premier League players will stop taking the knee before each match (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Premier League players will stop taking the knee before every match and instead perform the anti-discrimination gesture only at “significant moments”, such as Boxing Day and cup finals.

The majority of top-flight players have taken the knee before games over the past two seasons to highlight inequality, following the murder of George Floyd by a policeman in the US in May 2020.

The move follows discussions between all clubs and captains, who believe the gesture will be more impactful if used only on specific occasions.

Players will take the knee this weekend, for the start of the League season, on the top flight’s ‘No Room for Racism’ match rounds in October and March, on Boxing Day — the first round of fixtures following a six-week break for the winter World Cup — on the final day of the campaign and before the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.

In a statement, the Premier League captains said: “We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism. We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all.”

However, Troy Townsend, of anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, appeared to criticise the decision, writing on Twitter: “No, it hasn’t lost its ‘gravitas’. It’s the messaging around it that was taken in good faith that hasn’t been followed through. It’s that simple. So focus on those points instead.”

The Premier League captains said: “We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism and in so doing we continue to show solidarity for a common cause.

“We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all.”

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