Football stars will keep taking the knee in new Premier League season

4 August 2021, 11:28

Footballers will keep taking the knee
Footballers will keep taking the knee. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Footballers in the Premier League will continue to take the knee this season in a demonstration against racism.

The pre-match gesture aims to bring attention to racial injustice and inequality.

It was the subject of some controversy during the summer, when England players were booed before the Euro 2020 tournament for taking the knee.

A Conservative MP, Lee Anderson, even said he would boycott the games and move boxes instead of watch the final.

But further attention to racism in football came when England stars Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all targeted for racial abuse after they missed penalties in the final at Wembley.

Read more: 'An outpouring of love': Fans leave messages of support at vandalised Rashford mural

Read more: Anti-racism demo 'in support of Rashford, Sancho and Saka' held at Downing Street

Players at all 20 clubs will wear "No Room for Racism" badges on their shirts.

Footballers said in a statement: "We feel now, more than ever, it is important for us to continue to take the knee as a symbol of our unity against all forms of racism.

"We remain resolutely committed to our singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect and equal opportunities for all."

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "The Premier League, our clubs, players and match officials have a long-standing commitment to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

"Following our club captains' meeting, that collective commitment was reaffirmed and the Premier League will continue to support the players' strong voice on this important issue.

"Racism in any form is unacceptable and No Room For Racism makes our zero-tolerance stance clear.

"The Premier League will continue to work with our clubs, players and football partners to bring about tangible change to remove inequality from our game."

The Premier League starts on August 13 while the English Football League (EFL) begins this weekend.

The EFL has said that "where players choose to take the knee to oppose discrimination, they have support from the league".