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Scotland U-turn on decision not to take a knee before England match at Euro 2020

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Scotland players will take a knee alongside opponents England when the teams meet at Euro 2020 next week, in what marks a U-turn by the Scots.

It was initially said that Steve Clarke’s side would not join England in kneeling before kick-off – a gesture the Three Lions have been carrying out in protest of racial inequality.

Scotland captain Andy Robertson (Getty Images)
Scotland captain Andy Robertson (Getty Images)

In a message via the Scottish FA, however, Clarke and his captain Andy Robertson said the decision had been reversed.

“I am aware that some individuals and groups have sought to politicise or misrepresent the Scotland National Team position on taking a stand against racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour in our Uefa Euro 2020 matches and, in particular, for our visit to Wembley,” Clarke wrote.

READ MORE: Scotland Euro 2020 squad guide and fixtures

“It is incumbent on me as the Head Coach to reiterate that we have done so from our first Fifa World Cup qualifiers and that it has been done in conjunction with clubs across Scottish football including Rangers and Celtic.

“I explained in March the rationale behind the squad decision: not only is it consistent with the collective approach from Scottish football above but the purpose of taking the knee, to raise awareness and help eradicate racism in football and society, has been diluted and undermined by the continuation of abuse towards players.

“For the avoidance of doubt: me, my coaching staff, my players and my backroom team take a stand against racism and all forms of unacceptable and discriminatory behaviour across society. We do so to raise awareness of the ongoing problem but also as a reminder to those who have the ultimate power and responsibility to implement meaningful change.

“In light of divisive and inaccurate comments being perpetuated by individuals and groups, whose views we denounce in the strongest terms, we have reflected today as a group. We remain committed to our principles of taking a stand but we must also be unequivocal in condemning the opportunistic false narrative being presented by some.

“We have therefore agreed that we will show solidarity with our counterparts in England, many of whom are team-mates of our own players, and who have found themselves on the receiving end of abuse from fans in recent international matches.

Scotland coach Steve Clarke (PA Wire)
Scotland coach Steve Clarke (PA Wire)

“We will continue to take a stand – together, as one – for our matches at Hampden Park. For our match at Wembley, we will stand against racism and kneel against ignorance.”

Liverpool left-back Robertson added: “Our position was – and remains – that the focus must be on meaningful change to fight discrimination in football and wider society. 

“In Scotland, the football family has stood against racism all season. It was our collective view that the national team would do the same. 

“Our stance is that everyone, players, fans, teams, clubs, federations, governing bodies and governments must do more. Meaningful action is needed if meaningful change is to occur. But it is also clear, given the events around the England national team, taking the knee in this tournament matters as a symbol of solidarity. 

“For this reason, we have collectively decided to again take the knee as a team for the fixture against England at Wembley Stadium.”

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