The Premier League’s players will no longer take the knee before every match, preferring to perform the anti‑racism gesture at specific high‑profile moments during the season in the belief that less is more.
The club captains met last week to discuss whether to continue with the gesture that was introduced in 2020 during Project Restart to support the Black Lives Matter movement, which came to prominence after the death of George Floyd in the United States.
There were differing views in the meeting, with some captains, speaking on behalf of teammates, fearing the gesture had lost its power or even become divisive. Some fans have chosen to believe it has political connotations even though it has been made crystal clear to everyone that it is intended to highlight the need for greater equality and inclusion.
The captains did not reach a consensus last week but they have done so now, with the clubs set to take the knee before particular games in the hope of amplifying the message that racism and any form of discrimination has no place in football or society. The hope is that when the knee is taken, it will have greater impact.
The league said the gesture would be performed during the first and last rounds of fixtures, the dedicated No Room for Racism rounds in October and March, the Boxing Day games and the Carabao and FA Cup finals.
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.”
Kick It Out’s chief executive, Tony Burnett, told PA Media: “We support the players in whatever they decide, but we want to make sure that going forward, irrespective of taking the knee, that we are still talking about racism, we are talking about reasons why players had to take the knee, because those issues haven’t gone away.”
(The Guardian UK)